UCC Responds to Hurricane Sandy - An Update

March 26, 2013

SITUATION:  It has been nearly 6 months since Super Storm Sandy made landfall in the U.S., yet, many homes still require debris removal and repairs.The work needed will continue throughout the spring and into early summer. Below is a report of hardest hit New York and New Jersey, and the responses by Church World Service (CWS) and the United Church of Christ (UCC), both of which are responding in the hardest hit areas as well as other communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

According to multiple sources, in New York State over 90,000 owners and 33,000 renters had their homes damaged. More than 1,000 families are living in emergency housing, hotels, or with relatives and friends.

In New Jersey, approximately 48,000 homes sustained severe damage, while 40,000 residences received minor damage. 

Impacted homeowners in both New York and New Jersey will receive assistance from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), the Small Business Administration (low-interest loans), and state and local government agencies, as well as insurance payments.  But these funds seldom cover the entire cost of major repairs, rebuilding, transitional housing and other losses.  Especially hard hit are many at-risk populations, including the under and uninsured, people with disabilities, the elderly, immigrant populations, people of color, and others.  These unmet needs are very roughly estimated by state and federal authorities at over $2 billion.

People are starting home repairs with government, insurance and personal funds.  Rebuilding and repairs have also started with the support of faith-based and non-faith-based charitable organizations. However, the bulk of the reconstruction will not start until long-term recovery organizations are up and running to manage the activities. These committees and groups are forming at the county, city, town and even neighborhood levels.  The committees will manage activities that include volunteer reception and housing, volunteer management, construction management, fund raising, donations and material management, funds allocation, disaster case management, spiritual and emotional care, communications and advocacy, and other tasks as needed.

CWS RESPONSE:  To date CWS has provided: 12,840 CWS Blankets, 12,420 CWS Baby Care Kits, 19,500 CWS School Kits, 16,900 CWS Hygiene Kits and 2,193 CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets.  These 63,853 items are valued at $1,137,216.  Shipping costs are estimated at an additional $136,000. In addition, CWS Emergency Response Specialists are working with state, regional, and local Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, known as VOADs, and with FEMA, CWS member communions and other agencies to determine where CWS and its communions can help and are needed.

UCC'S RESPONSE:  To date, the United Church of Christ's has provided assistance totaling $184,919.00, for:

Connecticut - $8,000
$2,000 - First Church Fairfield, Fairfield, CT - to assist with church being opened as a shelter and community meal center for those displaced.
$2,000 - Northfield Congregational Church, Weston, CT - to assist with church opening as a community shelter and meal center for those without power & for damage done to parsonage.
$2,000 - United Congregational Church, Bridgeport, CT - to support expansion of church's community meal program and food bank.
$2,000 - Olivet Congregational  Church, Bridgeport, CT - to assist with church building damage repairs caused by storm.

New Jersey - $57,637
$2,000 - First congregational Christian UCC, Irvington, NJ - to assist with church opening as a community center for area residents displaced.
$2,000 - Margate Community UCC, NJ - grant to be used for the greater need of the community devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
$8,702 - New Jersey Community Food Bank, Hillside, NJ - Value of Safety equipment sent and being distributed across the state for safe clean-up efforts.
$2,000 - First Congregational UCC of Maple Shade, Maple Shade, NJ - Support of relief efforts around hurricane Sandy.
$3,317 - Brigantine, NJ - Value of safety equipment being sent to the area for distribution to assist with cleanup efforts.
$4,618 - Manahawkin, NJ - Value of safety equipment being sent to the area for distribution to assist with cleanup efforts.
$10,000 - Bergen County VOAD - Assistance to 2 counties with damage and repair costs.
$25,000 - The Fuller Center for Housing - Support of organizations construction gap funding for families in Atlantic City, NJ.

New York - $46,833               
$2,000 - First Parish Church UCC, Jamesport, NY - to assist with church being opened as a shelter for community members displaced.
$2,000 - Greenpoint Reformed Church, Brooklyn, NY - to assist community members in disaster covered areas apply for emergency support. 
$2,408 - Freemont Food Pantry in Freeport, NY - Value of Safety equipment sent for distribution into the community for safe clean-up efforts.
$8,702 - Adventist Group, New York City Metro area  - Value of Safety equipment sent for distribution into the community for clean-up efforts.
$4,400 - Mastic Shirley Coad, NY - value of Safety equipment sent for distribution into the community for safe clean-up efforts. 
$2,000 - New York Conference UCC in DeWitt, NY - To help support a disaster coordinator to organize initial phases of assessment and response.
$2,000 - First Congregational Church of Rockway Beach, NY - to assist families with basic mechanical needs in order to get electricity restored.
$2,000 - Bethany Congregational Church, Rockaway, NY - to assist financially with additional utility costs incurred and for the purchase of supplies while operating as a FEMA aid station.
$2,000 - Judson Memorial Church UCC, New York, NY - for participation in a program providing cash assistance to restaurant workers who lost wages.
$8,621 - Aidmatrix Network, Central Islip, NY - value of safety equipment sent for distribution in the community.
$2,000 - Rivers at Rehoboth, Bronx, NY - To supply basic needs, temporary shelter, gas and food for those members displaced.
$8,702 - Sleepys Warehouse, Bethpage, NY - value of safety equipment sent for distribution in the community.

Ohio - $6,000               
$2,000 - St. Paul's Community Church UCC, Cleveland, OH - to assist with cleanup and roof damage from persistent rains.
$2,000 - Magyar United Church of Christ, Elyria, OH - assistance with steeple damage repair.
$2,000 - Avon Lake UCC, Avon Lake, OH - grant to be distributed to church members suffering financial hardship due to extended lack of power.  

Pennsylvania - $2,000                
$2,000 - Trinity UCC, Fort Loudon, PA - assistance with steeple damage repair and basement flooding at church.

West Virginia - $3,288
$1,788 - Ohio Conference UCC - Purchase of generators for use at relief centers being set up in West Virginia.
$1,500 - Region "5" Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group, Beaver, WV - Start up grant for long-term recovery group in affected region.
               
To Partner Organizations - $61,161
$5,000 - Church World Service, Elkhart, IN, USA - to support Hurricane Sandy Disaster Response across the 17 states impacted in the USA.
$15,000 - ACT Alliance - to support Hurricane Sandy Disaster Response with food, water and shelter in Cuba.
$36,161 - ACT Alliance - to support Hurricane Sandy Disaster Response with food water and shelter in Haiti.
$10,000 - Church World Service - for development and humanitarian assistance to those in the Caribbean affected by Hurricane Sandy.

HOW TO HELP:  

Please pray for the people impacted by Hurricane Sandy and other disasters.

Contributions to support UCC emergency response efforts may be sent to your conference office or directly to the United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland OH 44115, clearly marked for Hurricane Sandy.  If you would prefer, make a secure online donation.

Emergency Cleanup Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits and School Kits, are urgently needed. Visit the CWS website for more information: www.cwsglobal.org/get-involved/kits.

Volunteer Opportunities for this and other disaster related opportunities can be found on the UCC Volunteer Website.

Thank you in advance for your support!

For further information about disasters to which the United Church of Christ is responding, please visit our disaster alerts page.

CWS is supported by the United Church of Christ through gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Mary Schaller Blaufuss
Team Leader, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3214
blaufusm@ucc.org