“There’s no explaining it. It’s a feeling like I’ve never had before,” said Vinita Cariveau about the tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, in May 2013, almost destroying her home. The EF5 tornado killed 24, injured 377, destroyed 1,150 homes, and left $2 billion worth of damage.
In an effort to minister to those who suffered property loss, Mission to North America (MNA) Disaster Response deployed volunteers to the area to build Sheds of Hope for the survivors. From May 2013 to August 2014, teams from more than 70 churches — including 21 PCA churches — and nine Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) college groups constructed 200 sheds for survivors. The sheds provided storage for their belongings while their homes were being repaired or rebuilt. According to Matt Teeselink, director of Sheds of Hope Oklahoma, the relationships that formed were the most significant contribution.
“We don’t just drop a shed and leave, but we stay and have a conversation and support them through whatever means we can,” Teeselink explains.
For example, a group of Marines built a shed for a retired vet. A band of high school kids blessed a family with developmentally disabled children. And there was a volunteer, an insurance company employee, who was able to advocate on behalf of one recipient’s insurance claim.
For Cariveau, it meant a lot simply to know that someone cared.
“They really brought a lot of hope to me, showed me that there are good people out there.”