Eastern Seaboard Conferences seeking volunteers for Hurricane Sandy recovery


May 14, 2014

Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts have NOT been completed. The sheer magnitude of the destruction that devastated so many areas at the end of October 2012 means that professional contractors and volunteers still have thousands waiting for help. Work is often slowed when the next step depends on an inspection from municipal departments struggling to keep up with demand.
 
As often happens with disasters, time passes, some relief and recovery agencies move on to other emergencies, funds are exhausted and the media focuses its attention on more recent events – all worthy and devastating. It’s easy for the public to lose sight of the unresolved needs of areas affected 18 months ago.
 
The New York Annual Conference, which covers affected areas in New York and Connecticut, needs more volunteers to help those who don’t have the physical capacity or the financial means to recover on their own. We’re asking all conference Directors of Connectional Ministries to forward our request for volunteers and the bulletin or email communication we’ve included below to its churches and ask them to spread the word in their communities. We also encourage groups to take a day while they volunteer with us for sightseeing in around New York, which has thousands of event, landmark and cultural options.
 
Within the bounds of our New York Annual Conference, many remain in temporary living quarters or living with family and friends. A quick drive through some neighborhoods will reveal homes that look to be in good shape, the effects of the storm seemingly gone. A closer look however, reveals homes that still have mold in the walls, floors weakened and warped by flooding and wiring corroded by salt water. In Connecticut, primary assessments are still being done by Long-Term Recovery Groups to determine the needs of families.
 
What you can ask churches to do? The United Methodist Church, partnering with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) provides volunteers long after other groups move on. However, we need:
  •  Volunteers willing to work for a week or a few days and bring funds for construction materials
  •  Put the included bulletin copy in your weekly communication to the congregation
  •  Prayers for hope restored to the families affected
  •  Donations for project materials or to underwrite the housing costs of groups who want to work but may not be able to afford all costs (such as for college groups)
In some areas affected by Sandy, the majority of repair/rebuild work has been done by volunteers and non-profit organizations. While our program is scheduled for three years, for many, the rebuild will take longer than that.
 
Contact Sandy Recovery Volunteer Coordinator, Barbara Burnside, at her new email: sandyrecovery@nyac-umc.com or call her at 203-470-1539 or visit our website for an application http://ny-www.brtsite.com/recovery .

The Greater New Jersey Conference is making progress toward its goal of repairing 500 homes devastated by Superstorm Sandy, the second largest disaster in US history.

The generous contributions from the church, individuals and foundations as well as volunteer engagement has given us a future with hope.

Presently our A Future With Hope ministry can house up to 300 volunteers a day. We are working on 40 homes presently with 30 more

In the queue and another 19 that will come online within the next two months. Already 3,296 volunteers logged 125,987 volunteer hours.

We cannot thank people enough for their generous support that we have been receiving from across the church.

But quite frankly we need your help.

Right now we have 92,000 volunteer hours of work right now or that will be coming online this year.

We also still need to raise $8 million more dollars over the next three years.

The continued support and generosity of The United Methodist Church is critical for such a time as this. Together we have been the face of Christ to so many low income and elderly people who are distraught and looking for help in their recovery.

Volunteer coordinators may call Lisa at 732.359.1066 or email at LisaPark@AFutureWithHope.org.

Those interested in contributing may contact Carolyn at CConover@GNJUMC.org.