Renew Communities Helping Tornado Victims

Allison Conners and Andy Sikora, lead pastor of Renew Communities, accept donations at one of the congregation's drop-off locations. The canned goods, cleaning and toiletry supplies will be shipped to aid victims of the April tornadoes in Alabama. (Photo by Joanne Berger, Sun News)

Renew Communities, a church plant in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, has been collecting supplies for victims of the tornados which struck Alabama in April. Their hope is to fill a 50-foot semi trailer and send it to the Holt Relief Center just outside of Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Renew started in April under the leadership of Andy Sikora, and has been averaging 90-100 people. The church was recently featured in the Cleveland Sun News. That article is printed below, with permission.

Joanne Berger, Sun News Staff Writer.

A local congregation is seeking donations to help victims recover from the devastating tornadoes that hit Alabama in April.

Members plan to fill a 50-foot semi-truck trailer with the donation and deliver them in July.

Andy Sikora, a Berea resident, is lead pastor with Renew Communities, which meets in Polaris Career Center each Sunday. The congregation has partnered with SEKO Worldwide, a freight forwarder firm in Cleveland, in organizing drop-off locations. Sikora said the church, which is about 3½ months old, is “passionate” about helping those in need.

“We believe one of the ways communities are renewed is by working together to meet these needs,” he said. “One of our small groups focuses on how to live out the mission of the Gospel. What better way to do that than by helping others in need, including this project.”

Some of the needed items include cleaning supplies, canned goods, washing detergent, undergarments/socks, lamps, blankets, linens, pillows and toilet paper/paper towels.

Rob Musial, SEKO’s inbound freight manager, said his company was looking for a project in which to get involved. Musial, a Renew member, said Sikora contacted him about the same time in finding a way to transport the donations. It was perfect timing.

“We gladly donated a truck to pick up the donations and dock space to keep them, and work with suppliers to get some donations as well as transporting the items to Alabama,” Musial said. “It is a perfect fit.”

Allison Connors, a Berea resident, spent a few hours outside the Berea Recreation Center last week accepting donations. She said Ohioans can relate to what occurred in Alabama with the heavy storms and flooding experienced recently in this area.

“We were spared the devastation they experienced,” Connors said. “I am sure they would do the same for us if we were in that situation.”

Berea’s recreation center is located at 451 Front Street. Middleburg Heights Community Center is at 16000 Bagley Road and Polaris, 7285 Old Oak Blvd., Middleburg Heights.

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