South Boston Church Helps Victims of Superstorm Sandy and Leaves A Big Gift For Kids There Behind

South Boston, VA-- A South Boston Church is back home after spending a week in Staten Island, New York helping victims of Superstorm Sandy.

This year, they really got creative. The 15 people who went took a piece of their congregation with them. The church built a big playhouse and the team hauled it to New York. It was a way to bring joy to some children who are still feeling the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy.

According to FEMA, Superstorm Sandy damaged hundreds of thousands of homes in New York and New Jersey and caused billions of dollars of damage.

Almost two years later, you can still see the effects of it. Some members of First Presbyterian Church in South Boston got a first hand experience when they went on a mission's trip there.

"I expected that things would be cleaned up and we'd probably be doing painting and minor repairs," said Mike Koch, who went on the trip.

"A lot of places were damaged really bad," said Robert Guthrie, who also went on the trip.

They worked on nine homes in a week.

"One of the houses we worked at had been under 13 feet of water and had taken all the floors all the walls out, and so we were putting in floors," said Reverend Russell Lee, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in South Boston.

"We built a wall. That was fun," said Matthew Bain.

"I put up cabinet most of the week, one day I did mud sheetrock," said Skylar Smith.

While the whole congregation didn't make it to New York, a piece of them did- in the form of a playhouse.

"There are many different ways to be part of a ministry," said Matthew Lee, who went on the trip.

"The five year-olds were splashing paint all over the place. Our youth group built the walls and the men helped them raise the wails and nailed them together," Reverend Russell Lee said.

When they got to New York the playhouse got a new home at a new church. It brought huge smiles to the faces of 150 inner city kids that may not have a real house in good working order, but now have mini house that they can fully enjoy.

"They were so thrilled they were going in and out," Reverend Russell Lee said.

"One guy stood at the door. He said 5 in, close the door, okay come on out, another five in." Mathew Lee said.

The team left the playhouse there for good. The pastor says it's something that the kids really enjoyed and the congregation enjoyed putting together.

He said they just may build another next year.