ABCNJ Hosts Hurricane Sandy Work Week #3

Volunteers from FBC Westfield Ninety-four (94) volunteers from NJ, PA , RI, MI, MD, NY , IN and WV joined together to Rebuild, Restore and Renew homes and families along the Jersey shore from July 13-20.

In Seabright, three of our teams moved approximately 250-300 buckets of sand a hour - up stairs and over a seawall back to the beach from where it came. Our teams rebuilt the stairs that the ocean washed away, finished painting and worked inside the house. They also moved and replanted some plants in the yard. Special thanks to our home owner for providing the large tools we needed and then donating them to our ABCNJ Tool Library.

Other teams worked at the Visitation Relief Center, which is also a distribution sight for all kinds of things a family might need to get back on their feet.

And on Friday of that week a Special Mission was planned for three groups to go to an island in the Mantoloking River. Our mission was to retrieve a home owner's personal items that remained in their attic. The attic separated from the house during Sandy, floated down stream and rested on a Federally protected Island. Our Special Agents traveled by pontoon boat and walked on the marsh land to reach the roof - only to find that the attic had been looted. In 105 degree heat and alongside very large bugs we worked fast to retrieve what we could. God revealed to me that anything we found, no matter how small (like two very small dolls) would bring great joy and a blessing to them. Among things found: a book signed by someone's father and a hymnal.

Lesson of the week - no matter if you're pulling weeds,moving rocks, cutting wood, sorting clothes or retrieving lost treasures - every BIG and small task we did made a difference to someone.

All of our ABCNJ/ABHMS teams sent a message of love and hope that American Baptists do care and together we make a difference!

S. Denise Gratzel ABCNJ Disaster Response Coordinator