U.S. Sandy Superstorm Update Part Two: CWS Partner Denominational/Communion Response


March 20, 2013


SITUATION: Response operations continue for Superstorm Sandy. The unmet needs of many at-risk populations are estimated at over $2 billion. People are beginning rebuilding and repairs, but the bulk of the reconstruction will not start until long-term recovery organizations are up and running to manage the activities. See Part One - CWS Response for a full situation update.

CWS PARTICIPATING DENOMINATIONAL/COMMUNION ACTIVITIES: CWS participating communions and partners are involved in the impacted states doing mud and debris removal (commonly referred to as "muck out"), receiving and distributing material assistance, supporting feeding operations (expected to continue into late spring) and aiding local communities and congregations.

Specific activities include:

World Renew (a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America): Has provided and continues to provide multiple muck out and debris clearance teams in Bergen and Monmouth counties, N.J. Has an Unmet Needs Assessment Team at work in Bergen County and is working with long-term recovery groups to assess unmet needs in Long Island, N.Y.; Middlesex, N.J., and Cape May, N.J. counties and in Somerset, Md. Additional unmet needs assessment is scheduled in Ocean and Atlantic counties, N.J.; Atlantic City, N.J., and Brooklyn and Staten Island, N.Y. World Renew has also provided $10,000 grants to long-term recovery groups in Bergen, Middlesex and Monmouth counties. Plans are being developed for two long-term skilled home construction projects.

Reformed Church in America: Working in close partnership with World Renew conducting unmet needs assessments. Will be participating in construction activities in Monmouth and Ocean counties, N.J.

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC): The IOCC has distributed more than $200,000 in emergency relief items to survivors in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, including shipments of more than 1,300 cases of donated bottled water, along with 6,300 quilts and 4,600 personal hygiene kits. In cooperation with Lutheran World Relief, 100 storage bins and more than 400 emergency cleanup buckets were provided. In Maryland, more than 100 families with homes in the flooded coastal community of Crisfield received emergency cleanup buckets from IOCC, and numerous storm survivors sought trauma counseling provided by the IOCC Emergency Response Network's Frontliners. IOCC also made a $10,000 grant to Crisfield, Md., for the work of its long-term recovery group.

In Toms River, N.J., IOCC sent four Frontliners to provide pastoral counseling to families with damaged or destroyed homes, and joined members from New Jersey chapters of AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association), the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, and GOYA (Greek Orthodox Youth Association) to assemble and distribute emergency cleanup buckets filled with cleaning supplies, heavy duty gloves and trash bags to 150 families trying to salvage homes damaged by the storm surge and intense winds. An additional shipment of nearly 150 emergency cleanup buckets were distributed to St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Toms River, N.J.; St. Paul Greek Orthodox Church on Long Island, N.Y. and Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Staten Island, (where another IOCC Frontliner from Minnesota was deployed and which was serving as the community's central distribution center for food, water, and clothing). IOCC also organized a group from St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y., to do cleanup on Staten Island. IOCC is a member of New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) and also made grants to that group of $15,000 for its work and to help fund a conference on Care for the Caregivers. As IOCC has done in the past, it will also partner with Habitat for Humanity this summer and beyond to help rebuild homes by sending teams of volunteers to affected areas in New York and New Jersey.

Church of the Brethren: Brethren Disaster Ministries Associate Director Zach Wolgemuth has been in close contact with disaster recovery leadership in New Jersey and on Long Island, N.Y., since the storm hit. BDM is developing plans to send volunteer teams wherever they are most needed, once the community's recovery organizations and plans are in place. Shortly after Superstorm Sandy's impact, Brethren Children's Disaster Services (CDS) carried out a three-week response during which 43 volunteers received 566 children in 14 CDS centers in New York and New Jersey. Brethren Disaster Ministries also gave a grant of $25,000 to Church World Service to help fund emergency shipments immediately after the storm's impact. The Brethren funds also support CWS disaster recovery training sessions in the affected communities, and help long-term recovery groups get established.

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ): Week of Compassion/Disciples Volunteering has been exploring models of partnership with the United Church of Christ and local partners to provide hands-on volunteer opportunities in New York and New Jersey. A committee from the Northeast Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has also been formed to address needs within affected congregations and to look for ways that Disciples can participate in collaborative response. Disciples Volunteering is liaising with that committee. Week of Compassion has also extended "Solidarity Grants" for relief and to support the emerging recovery partnerships, as well as to Church World Service to further shared ecumenical response. Local Disciples congregations requested, collected and distributed donations of children's clothing, hygiene kits, toiletries and cleaning supplies and labored in their own communities. Toy drives led to the delivery of toys to disaster-impacted neighborhoods in both December and January. Assistance was provided to a Disciples congregation to replace furniture that was lost in the storm. Two CC(DOC) congregations reported more than 200 hours of service offered helping to canvass neighborhoods as well as to demolish and gut storm-damaged homes.

Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR): LDR is working through its affiliates in Maryland, New Jersey and New York. In Maryland, Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries staff members helped to develop the long-term recovery group in Crisfield, Md., and LDR will be helping to fund case managers. In New Jersey, LDR is funding a person who will be helping with volunteer coordination and providing support to long-term recovery groups through its affiliate Lutheran Social Ministry of New Jersey. LDR also funds a position in the New Jersey Bishop's office to assist with volunteer coordination. In New York, LDR is supporting the substantial case management work of Lutheran Social Services of New York and is also funding a position in the New York Bishop's office. In the months ahead, LDR will be evaluating needs and is prepared to assist in the recovery through its affiliates.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA): PDA have deployed 91 National Response Team (NRT) members for Sandy since the beginning of the emergency. From the beginning, PDA had nine NRTs deployed to presbyteries in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York to assist with presbytery engagement in disaster response. One additional team concentrated solely on damaged churches during the initial response. Two teams were assigned to the American Red Cross to assist with its initial response, including going door-to-door to identify immediate relocation needs and to offer emotional and spiritual care. Seven teams have been deployed to New York and New Jersey to determine volunteer housing sites in churches, camps and schools. NRT members participated in three CWS Recovery Tools and Training events in New York City, on Long Island, N.Y., and in New Jersey. Three teams conducted Care for Care Givers events in New York and New Jersey. PDA conducted two long-term recovery training events. Two NRT have worked with FEMA and State VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) as Housing Solution Liaisons and one member was assigned to FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., as a National VOAD liaison. PDA continues to develop Volunteer Work Team Housing sites and assist Presbyteries and communities in long-term recovery organization.

American Baptist Churches USA: The American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is seeking volunteers for four 2013 work weeks to rebuild New Jersey. Cosponsored by ABHMS and American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABCNJ), "Coming Together for New Jersey...Rebuild, Renew and Restore" work weeks will be held May 4-11, June 1-8, July 13-20, and Aug. 10-17. Planning is underway for work weeks in New York as well. For additional information and to register for "Coming Together for New Jersey...Rebuild, Renew and Restore," visit and click "Volunteer," or contact Victoria Goff at or 1-800-222-3872, x2449.

Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS): MDS has been providing teams and continues to provide teams for muck out and debris removal in impacted areas of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania since Superstorm Sandy made landfall. On Staten Island, N.Y., MDS teams of 50 volunteers per week have been accomplishing minor repairs and also are assisting with casework activities. Additionally, in the New York community of Far Rockaway, 25-person volunteer teams are at work. MDS also provided a grant to the Crisfield long-term recovery committee in Somerset County, Md. MDS will be conducting rebuild and repair activities there through April 2014.

United Church of Christ (UCC): The UCC has provided personal protective equipment (Tyvex or similar protective suits) and respirators for use in cleanup and muck out activities in the impacted states. Also, the UCC has widely distributed its booklet "The Silent Disaster," a guide to working safely in hazardous materials conditions. UCC experts have also participated in CWS Recovery Tools and Training workshops in New York and New Jersey. UCC specialists are also working with survivors to guide them through the complex application processes for FEMA and other aid programs. The UCC through the One Great Hour of Sharing has provided "Solidarity Grants" to long-term recovery committees and impacted congregations.

United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR): UMCOR has raised over $8 million for Superstorm Sandy disaster response. Relief ministries activities include: Initial grants totaling $150,000 distributed to support relief ministries in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Eastern Pennsylvania and Virginia. UMCOR provided more than 70,000 meals, gave day and/or night shelter to more than 5,000 people, distributed more than 23,000 cleaning buckets and 3,500 health kits, "mucked out" approximately 1,000 homes (cleaning out debris, mud, sheetrock, insulation and wet materials) and provided comfort and spiritual support to thousands of people.

In New Jersey: Initial relief and cleanup activities in which 2,537 volunteers contributed more than 40,348 hours of volunteer labor for initial relief and clean-up. In New York: Over 1,459 volunteers have contributed more than 13,318 volunteer hours cleaning up more than 270 homes. In Maryland: More than 232 volunteers have contributed more than 4,703 volunteer labor hours in cleanup of more than 45 homes. Long-term recovery ministries in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Maryland supported by UMCOR and in cooperation with other faith-based and voluntary partners will include volunteer coordination, volunteer housing, volunteer labor, home repair, disaster case management and resources for unmet recovery needs.

HOW TO HELP: Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your member denomination/communion or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. (REF: SUPERSTORM SANDY APPEAL {U.S.} # 627-W.)

CONCERNING CWS EMERGENCY CLEANUP BUCKETS, BLANKETS AND KITS: Thanks to the great efforts of CWS communions, CWS has made progress restocking its warehouse, but more materials are needed to be ready for future emergencies. Needed to restock CWS warehouses are CWS Blankets, Emergency Cleanup Buckets, Hygiene Kits, Baby Kits and School Kits. Information on various kits that can be compiled and donated to CWS can be found at:

CONCERNING VOLUNTEER DEPLOYMENT: Volunteers are best utilized when part of an organized effort. The best course of action is to affiliate with a church or other responding agency. Volunteer time and talents will then be well used in planned and organized activities. There is a lot of work to be done and groups will be needed for repair and rebuilding activities for several years.

During a disaster it is important to remember that the most important immediate humanitarian donation that an individual can make is cash. If you do have supplies that may be of help, contact a CWS Emergency Response Specialist to see if the materials can be used and where.

Church World Service is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit or call the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.

CWS Development and Humanitarian Assistance Program/CWS New York office: (212) 870-3151

Program Director: Donna Derr at

Associate Director for Domestic Disaster Response: Barry Shade at