Operation Compassion to help aid Sandy victims
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Nov 16, 2012 | 1540 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OPERATION COMPASSION administrative assistant Randall Bailey and Vice President of Operations Lisa Boen stand inside a warehouse full of supplies to be sent to areas affected by Superstorm Sandy. Forty-three tractor-trailers of supplies have been sent. Banner photo, DONNA KAYLOR
OPERATION COMPASSION administrative assistant Randall Bailey and Vice President of Operations Lisa Boen stand inside a warehouse full of supplies to be sent to areas affected by Superstorm Sandy. Forty-three tractor-trailers of supplies have been sent. Banner photo, DONNA KAYLOR
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A common mission has brought together organizations along the East Coast as Cleveland-based Operation Compassion and its partners work to provide disaster relief to those affected by Superstorm Sandy.

Already 43 tractor-trailers full of supplies have been mobilized to deliver aid to the Northern states affected. More than half of these have already been delivered.

“We have several more leaving this week,” said Lisa Boen, Operation Compassion vice president of operations.

One local group of drivers returned to Cleveland over the weekend, but more teams were being sent out.

Operation Compassion’s efforts from Cleveland crossed many state lines taking supplies to New York and New Jersey. James Overton was one of the truck drivers for these supplies.

The need was great in New York City, with many neighborhoods without power and living under a 5 p.m. curfew.

“There was a need and we needed to respond — that is the drive of Operation Compassion. We go where the need is,” Overton said. “I found it to be a great opportunity.”

He was part of a group that delivered supplies to Hope NYC church. He said he was impressed by the level of preparation the organization had. This church meets the needs of the community on a daily basis and was prepared to take the donations.

“Where FEMA left off, this organization stepped in and filled the gap,” Overton said.

In addition to supplies, some trucks leaving Cleveland transported volunteers from Lee University and the Church of God International headquarters to help unload the supplies.

Phil Harris, pastor from Lawrenceville, Ga., served as a ground coordinator for the group.

“I’m a man of faith. I think when we receive God’s Love we should give it out to others,” Harris said.

Harris said snow was a factor in trying to get to New York. The group had to stop for the night and continue in the morning because of it. About 15 volunteers went with the drivers.

The group drove three tractor-trailers, one bound for New Jersey, one for Brooklyn and another delivered supplies to a warehouse in Queens, N.Y.

Harris said the church had originally wanted to convert the warehouse into a sanctuary. After the storms hit, the church was glad the plans had not moved forward because it was serving more good to the community as a place to store diaster relief supplies.

“I lived in New York for three years ... It’s just weird to see part of New York (City) without power,” Harris said.

He said there were so many in need because the areas affected were densely populated.

“I think they are going to be needing help for a long time,” Harris said.

Operation Compassion also partnered with God’s Pit Crew in Virgina and Pastor Freddie Edwards from Alabama to deliver supplies, according to a press release. Partner organizations were contacted to provide, deliver and distribute supplies for areas hit in Maryland and Philadelphia.