Christian Student Fellowship helps victims of Hurricane Sandy

The Penn State Berks Christian Student Fellowship (CSF), a student group, spent their spring break in Crisfield, Maryland, helping to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The group of 17 students departed on Saturday, March 7, 2015, and returned on Saturday, March 14.

The CSF group worked with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), the organization leading the project. The group was divided into three to four work teams, led by MDS long-term volunteers (including one Amish volunteer). Some of the work they performed included installing drywall, siding, cabinets, and insulation; building a deck; and repairing roofs.

"This trip really taught me the value of patience, and being content in whatever task you are doing, even if it seems menial or boring,? states Penn State Berks junior Heather Nelson. ?Washing windows, and chipping paint off doorframes are just as important as hanging drywall, or putting up siding. If you are doing it to bless others, and to glorify God, that is all that matters."

?Being able to help individuals that have lost a lot while making friendships for life is possibly one of the greatest feeling a human can encounter,? adds Patrick McCarty.

The trip was organized by Pastor David Hershey, adviser to the Berks CSF group and member of the Christian Student Foundation of Pennsylvania. Hershey believes the trip built a sense of community and friendship.

?While there, we learned that Crisfield was once the largest city in Maryland but over the decades it has declined and now Somerset County, where Crisfield is located, is the poorest county in Maryland,? Hershey explained. ?Hurricane Sandy damaged a lot of homes and repairs have been going on since right after the storm. Our group helped rebuild in the hopes of people moving back into their house.

The group included 16 students from Penn State Berks, and one students from Penn State Brandywine. In addition, Penn State Berks alumni Hannah McConnel, Elizabeth Boulanger, Raquel Echevarria went on the trip. Penn State Berks staff members included Mark Groff, Sergeant in Police Services, and Britney Schlecter, Student Activities Coordinator.

Penn State Berks student volunteers included seniors Jon Bender from New Holland; Faith Browne from Darby; Anthony Lesko from New Tripoli; and Andrew Maiolie from Sinking Spring; juniors Miranda Kane from Elverson, Lauren Kuhn from Honey Brook, Kayla Maneval from Auburn, Heather Nelson from Robesonia; Briana Turman from Birdsboro, and Antonio Williams from Philadelphia, sophomores Jonathan Hollahan from Glenmoore, and Braydon Lauer, from Phillipsburg, NJ, and first-year students Haley Lorish from Wyomissing, Patrick McCarty from Reading, Xiaoyu Wang from China, and Tamuno ?Braydon? Warmate from Hagerstown, MD.

?Seeing the full effects of what Hurricane Sandy did surprised me; the residents of Crisfield, Maryland went through a lot, and they are still recovering,? commented Braydon Warmate. ?I'm glad I was given the opportunity to help rebuild the homes that were lost during that night. It certainly influenced me to volunteer more to make everything just a little brighter.?