The disaster response call center number is: 914-615-2233. Call the New York Annual Conference (NYAC) if you have questions about volunteering or if you need help recovering from Hurricane Sandy so that we can respond appropriately.
Volunteers are being deployed from St. Mark's UMC, Brooklyn; Community UMC, Massapequa; Freeport UMC; St. Mark's UMC, Rockville Centre; Bethel UMC, Staten Island. Housing is offered by Amityville UMC; Bethany Home, Brooklyn; Hicksville UMC; St. Mark's UMC, Rockville Centre; Bethel UMC, Staten Island, and Good Shepherd UMC, West Hempstead . Volunteers will be deployed to work where the current need is greatest.
We want to make volunteer groups aware that in April and May, instead of clean-up or rebuilding work, you may be asked to help with the critical work of canvassing affected neighborhoods, conducting a type of "needs assessment" to see who still needs help with the work on their homes. This process will allow us to identify those families who are most vulnerable, most in need, and without enough insurance, FEMA assistance or resources to recover on their own. Volunteers canvassing homes will revive the HOPE of homeowners again.
There are many families with homes that have not even been mucked out, gutted or had debris removed as the homeowners had to find other housing during the winter months. As spring arrives, many of these homeowners will return, needing help and the light of hope that you bring. Canvassing is a vital step as our ministry moves from the relief stage (mucking out, gutting and debris removal) into the recovery/rebuilding phase.
Now that the initial trauma of the destruction is several months behind us, the tough work of rebuilding and renewing from the inside out begins. It may appear from the outside that recovery is finished, but hidden inside the homes is the real picture — devastation still to be dealt with. Homes with mold that will start growing when the weather warms, first floors that need to be rebuilt from the studs out, floors buckled by flood waters and electricity that is still off on many ground floors. Volunteers who canvas neighborhoods will be building up the spirits of homeowners facing a daunting new reality simply by asking "How can we help you?"
Right now we are also in a tough transition period between relief/clean-up work and recovery/rebuilding and our progress has been slowed by changing state and municipalities' regulations for some of our work. Therefore your presence here at the site and with the survivors makes all the difference.