Paying it Back and Paying it Forward: The Kindness of Flood Buckets
By: Sherri Gragg
When hurricane Harvey hit, the Rev. Alicia Coltzer Besser learned the power of flood buckets. A year later, she mobilized her district to send buckets to communities impacted by hurricane Florence.
On the morning of the Southeast District’s charge conference training, the Rev. Alicia Coltzer Besser, District Superintendent of the Southeast District, awakened to the news of Florence’s destruction. As she watched the morning news, images of men, women, and children fleeing the rising flood waters flickered across the screen. In an instant, she was back in those terrible days when Harvey hit, scrambling to get her pastors and their congregations any assistance she could. The terror. The helplessness. The heartbreak.
And the first hint of a promise that life would, one day, return to normal- flood buckets.
Promise of Recovery
“Right after Hurricane Harvey, we couldn’t get enough flood buckets. Thousands needed them. Our friends in East and North East Texas gathered together to make them and send them as fast as possible. We were on the receiving end. This time, we could help.”
During the charge conference training, Besser challenged her district to begin filling flood buckets for the victims of Florence. Churches large and small went to work, quickly assembling 247 flood buckets to send North and South Carolina.
During Hurricane Harvey First United Methodist Port Neches, opened their doors to shelter first responders. This time, they volunteered to be the collection site for the flood buckets headed to the Carolinas. The Rev. Curtis Matthys said that his congregation and others in the Southeast district were motivated to help those impacted by Florence because they remember all too well what it felt like to be on the receiving end of such desperately needed assistance. It is their hope to not simply “pay it forward” but to also return the same kindness they received.
Tangible Sign of Hope
According to Matthys, Flood Buckets are more than a collection of supplies to meet a physical need. They are a sign that those suffering such devastating loss are not alone, that help is on the way. “It is a tangible sign of hope that someone else has given this to you as a way of solidarity but also a physical reminder that not only are there people care, but there is also a way to recover from this,” he said.
Besser agrees, asserting that those who have so recently been through Harvey are uniquely equipped to offer heartfelt assistance. “We could share those feelings because it was our journey last year,” she said, “Our desire was in some small way to walk this path with our neighbors in North and South Carolina and now Florida.