MONSON, Mass. (WGGB) — The town of Monson is far from back to normal after the tornado but a volunteer relief group based out of the First Church of Monson is ready to downsize its operation.
“All the support here is unbelievable,” said tornado victim, Joseph Couture of Monson. “There’s no words for it. Even the day after, it was incredible how the church pulled everybody together.”
Couture’s home including his roof was damaged in the June 1 tornado. Since then, Couture, his wife, Kelly, and their three children, Kaylee, Nicholas and Landon, have received the kindness of countless donors and over a thousand volunteers working out of the church, of which they are also members. The homegrown volunteer center’s outreach coordinator, Ted Sisley, said at one point, volunteers were making and serving as many as four thousand meals a day to tornado victims.
But now, he says that need is shrinking and the volunteer services are ending Friday. Only a couple of hundred meals are needed a day now. There were so many clothing donations, the church started sending hundreds of bags to other relief centers in the area. And the calls have gotten fewer for chainsaws to cut down trees, tarps for roofs and other services.
“The First Church of Monson is not a relief organization,” said Sisley. “And there are good relief organizations in place. FEMA is here. MEMA is here. The 211 organization is here. These people do this for a living. And they’re prepared to do it. We’ve done great, and we’re so proud to have been a part of it but it’s time for us to be a church again.”
With that said, the church will still have its doors open to tornado victims, specifically the doors of its pantry. People will be able to find food for themselves and their animals and household supplies. Beginning this weekend, the pantry will be open Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and on Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Donations are welcome. For any other services, people can call 211, the general resource number sponsored in part by the United Way.
As for Couture and his family, they expect to be in a rental home by the end of next week. Like many tornado victims, they are still waiting for repairs to their home to begin.