The Willow Grove Adventist Community Services Center is one of several ACS Centers that are still responding to the needs of communities impacted by Hurricane Ida. They organized a distribution event on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, where boxes of food, clothing, comfort kits, and other items were distributed. North American Division ACS Director, Derrick Lea, visited the center to assess the recovery efforts that have been taking place around New Jersey and Pennsylvania over the last two months.
The distribution was scheduled to start at 11:00 am. However, Lea arrived at 10:30 am to see a line of cars already wrapped around the church, leading to the Community Center. As he got out of his car, he was stopped by a young lady that saw his golden yellow shirt and began thanking him, though he had done nothing at all. As he walked towards the entrance of the Center, he realized why she thanked him as he saw a sea of yellow ACS Disaster Response shirts taking the goods and piling them up in the parking lot. There were around 20 ACS volunteers that were busy at work serving the long line of cars. As they were serving the community, Lea quickly thanked them, and they returned to servicing those who were arriving. Though it was the middle of the work week, people had been coming for over an hour and this continued for three more hours.
“This is the community work that shows our care for those often overlooked, and the looks on the faces, and thanks in the voices of those helped can’t be measured. The Allegheny East Conference had received a grant from the NAD for this type of work, and Director Smith said he had around 25 churches that were able to do the same type of work around the affected area,” stated Lea. “I only had a chance to view one such location, but others similarly are serving their communities as well, and while this work might not get the exposure far and wide, those helped appreciate what the Seventh Day Adventist church is doing in their community,” continued Lea.