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Calkins Baptist Church organizes Alabama relief effort

May 11, 2011

“Where do you begin?” That’s the question that Josh Sheard and his wife, Lori, found themselves pondering as they learned of the devastation wrought by tornadoes and severe storms that ravaged Alabama in late April. “How can we just continue to go on with our everyday lives?” the couple wondered, in the wake of the deaths and destruction.

The couple decided they couldn’t sit by and simply watch as the survivors struggled without access to essentials, such as water, clothing and food. “We’re the parents of seven, and we realized that while we would be grateful to have survived, we would still have to take care of the needs of our family.”

Josh, owner of Sage Investments in Boyds Mills, PA, decided that they needed to take action to get those supplies to the victims as directly as possible. “In business terms, they call it ‘point to point,’” said Lori. They reached out to Calkins Baptist Church in Milanville, where they are members, and the effort was underway.

The community became involved as word spread. Barely a week later, the group had secured donations of water, medical supplies, personal hygiene products, clothing, can openers and even books and teddy bears for the youngest victims.

The loaded trucks will leave the drop-off location at Narrowsburg Lumber in Narrowsburg, NY and make their way directly to affected Alabama communities for immediate distribution. The first one departed on May 6, with John Diehl of Diehl Trucking in Tyler Hill, PA at the wheel.

Melvin Purvis, a missionary supported by the church, was ready to receive and distribute the supplies. “The people were so excited to know the truck was coming,” said Lori. “Everything will go directly to the victims.”

Mirroring the wide range of communities affected by the storms, the local relief effort is bringing together citizens and businesses from multiple communities in both Pennsylvania and New York. Some of the participants include Narrowsburg Lumber, Narrowsburg Feed and Grain, Fox Ledge Water, the Honesdale Agway, Zefran Dental Clinic, Highlights for Children, Wayne Memorial Hospital and Northeast MediQuip, with others getting involved daily.

Lori thinks of it as compassion in motion. “We’re just happy to get those wheels rolling,” she said.

The initiative will be chronicled on a blog so that people can see the results of their efforts. Visit to view the blog or for details about how to assist in this effort. Josh Sheard can be reached at 570/729-1020 for more information.