Hurricane Sandy: Recovery Continues

The following is a compilation of adapted excerpts from recent reports submitted by Bob Riconda and David Janssen, coordinators for the Metropolitan District’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

It has been an eventful two months for Alliance churches here. Our five Alliance relief centers (ARCs) have been involved in “Phase 1” efforts. We’ve hosted and dispatched hundreds of teams from all over the country. Approximately 2,500 houses have been cleaned and gutted by ARC teams. They will pause during the holidays to retool and prepare for Phase 2—rebuilding.

Relief for the Weary

Each week, hundreds of displaced people visit two ARCs that supply food, water, and clothing.  The New Jersey governor’s office is providing the ARCs with truckloads of donations, including furniture and food. Nearly 300 appliances are in storage, waiting to be distributed after the rebuilding.

Locally, churches are rallying to help each other. One church purchased new appliances for a church on the shore so congregants could house and cook food for volunteers. Another church provided a vehicle for an elderly pastor who had no way to replace his car, which was crushed by a tree. Still another purchased 30 generators for Staten Island residents.

Alliance and non-Alliance churches on Staten Island have worked together to minister to their borough. They have divided the affected area into zones, and each church has taken responsibility for one zone.

Grateful Neighbors

The proactive response from Alliance people to help with the clean-up has left residents overwhelmed by the generosity.

A man named Larry said the water level in his house rose to seven feet; the ceiling is only eight feet high. Larry is overwhelmed. He can’t tell his boss when he will be back to work, and he’s lost everything on the first floor of his home. When darkness falls in his powerless house, he goes to a neighbor’s home to sleep.

When a team from State College (Pennsylvania) Alliance Church gutted Larry’s house, he was stunned. The team of experienced laborers working at his house, Larry says, has given him a new start.

Carol came from another city to help her elderly parents, whose home was flooded. “Thank you to everyone who helped my parents get their home to the point where I was able to begin the drying process,” she told us. “I even got a hug or two, which I needed.  So a big hug back to you and thank you. Your kindness will never be forgotten.”

We met an elderly woman who was living alone in the basement of a cold house; the storm had destroyed windows and doors. We were able to clean her basement, board up her windows, and replace her basement door. She said, “I was raised in the Ukraine as an atheist, but you make me believe in God.”  Right there, she opened her heart to Jesus Christ.

The Work Goes On

During Phase 2, each of the ARCs will focus on specific neighborhoods to assist during the rebuilding process. There may be opportunities for U.S. Alliance churches to adopt a house and provide the supplies, materials, and manpower. Skilled laborers are invited to assist us.

We appreciate the prayers and support of the greater Alliance family. God has called us to this place for such a time as this, and it is our prayer that as we reconstruct homes, we will be building His Kingdom as well. Thank you for praying!


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