Volunteer with the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Efforts

Below you will find an excerpts from an interview with Elizabeth Heenan, Volunteer Coordinator for Hurricane Sandy Response, which was recently published by Episcopal Relief & Development in their Lamplight newsletter.

Episcopal Relief & Development logoAs part of the rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Sandy, Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting a coordinated volunteer response among three Episcopal dioceses: New York, New Jersey and Easton.

Any type of group can be accommodated, including individuals and groups that come for the day or week-long trips. All three of the diocesan programs are doing reconstruction in private homes, and have several houses they are working on at any given time. Volunteers are also sent to a soup kitchen in Keansburg, NJ that is still feeding disaster survivors.

Skilled Volunteers Needed
Volunteers over the age of 18 with skills in electrical and plumbing are especially needed. In addition, the dioceses of New York and New Jersey are looking for people skilled in “finishing” work, such as painting and putting up drywall and cabinets. Groups with one or two skilled workers are most valuable because they can help manage the rest of the volunteers.

Currently, minors can do some clean-up work and volunteer in soup kitchens. Due to state laws, it can be difficult to place minors at reconstruction sites. But some laws may be changing in response to the need for Sandy volunteers. New Jersey, for example, now allows 16-year-olds to volunteer as long as there is one adult for every three youth under 18.

Visit relief.episcopalny.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities in the Dioceses of Easton, New York and New Jersey. Email Elizabeth at regvolcoord@episcopalny.orgwith questions or to send a group to volunteer.

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Camp DeWolfe providing accommodations for Hurricane Sandy relief volunteers

From time to time I will invite guest writers to submit posts to this blog. This week Emma Tees from Camp DeWolfe kindly submitted the following blog post about opportunities for volunteers and families impacted by Hurricane Sandy to use Camp DeWolfe’s accommodations.

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Camp DeWolfe, a residential sleep-away Christian Camp on Long Island, New York , re-opened on Thursday November 8, following Hurricane Sandy. Power was restored to the facilities by Jacksonville Power Authority and the phones are up but the office still is without email access.

As a non-profit, we will feel the effects of Hurricane Sandy for months to come. But, in this time of need, we are happy to be able to offer support to our community and those less fortunate than us. Camp DeWolfe is open for shelter for power authority crews and shelter, arranged through the authorities.

Below are dates that Camp DeWolfe has set aside for families directly affected by Sandy to come to the North Shore of Long Island and enjoy our facility, including hot showers, cooked meals, and warm Tempur-pedic beds free of charge.

Dates available:

  • Nov 14th – 16th
  • Nov 26th – 28th
  • Nov 28th – 30th
  • Dec 1st – 3rd
  • Dec 7th – 9th
  • Dec 14th – 16th

If you’ve been affected by Hurricane Sandy and need relief, reserve your stay today here! Call the office (631) 929-4325 for more information!

To support Camp DeWolfe’s Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts:
Contact Matt Tees: Call (631) 929 4325 or mail to:

Camp DeWolfe
Attention: Sandy Relief Efforts
Po Box 487
Wading River NY, 11792

Camp DeWolfe is also welcoming volunteer teams, groups and community teams who are working across NYC and Long Island during Sandy Relief effort. Volunteers are invited to use Camp DeWolfe as a base for accommodation, showers and breakfasts while you serve those most in need.

Camp DeWolfe is also open for retreats and meetings from November 9th 2012 – June 2013.

Resources for Ministry After a Disaster

The US East Coast has again been battered by extreme weather and the Caribbean continues to dig out from Hurricane Sandy. In the aftermath of this devastation, many of us find ourselves in ongoing ministry with those directly affected by these storms.

Episcopal Relief and Development offers Ministering to Children After a Disaster to assist with planning programming in the wake of devastation. Also available from the Episcopal Relief and Development Resource Library are:

Church Publishing has also developed a list of resources available from other denominational offices:

  • On the Destruction of a Home is a service of pastoral care for families, couples or individuals who have lost a home to a natural disaster that can be adapted for specific needs and local circumstances from Presbyterian Church USA.
  • Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has written a hymn to the tune of “The God of Abraham Praise” entitled, When Waters Roar and Foam.
  • The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America offers a number of prayers and hymn suggestions in the aftermath of “Sandy.”
  • The Presbyterian Mission Agency offers instruction for making Gift of the Heart Kits (school kits, hygiene kits, baby kits, and cleanup buckets) all of which can be used in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut coastal communities as well as Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations.

Please feel free to post in the comments any other resources you know will be helpful to folks as they continue in ministry during these difficult times.

Responding to Hurricane Sandy

Post-hurricane view from the rectory at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Oakland, Garrett County, the westernmost county of Maryland, where blizzard conditions dumped more than a foot of snow. (Photo from ENS)

As we all know, Hurricane Sandy swept through the Caribbean on October 25 before continuing up the East Coast and making landfall in central New Jersey on October 29. The storm has claimed at least 124 lives, displaced thousands and caused blizzards, widespread flooding and power outages and devastation.

In the aftermath of this widespread disaster, affected Episcopal dioceses in the U.S. and the Caribbean are already starting to mobilize to assess damages and determine how to help.

Additionally, Episcopal Relief & Development is reaching out to partners along the U.S East Coast and throughout the Caribbean as they assess needs and develop response strategies. The agency has developed a bulletin insert for use in congregations this Sunday.

Donate now to Episcopal Relief and Development’s Hurricane Sandy Response Fund. Gifts to this fund will support relief and recovery efforts in both the Caribbean and the US as our partners respond to Superstorm Sandy.

I will also be sure to pass along information about ways to support our brothers and sisters in Christ as they recover from this devastation.

Read the story on Hurricane Sandy posted on Episcopal News Service.