The second-worst storm in US history, Superstorm Sandy, hit New Jersey ten years ago on October 29, 2012. This devastating disaster left 2 million households without power and damaged hundreds of homes. Not only were structural buildings impacted, but the heavy damage left NJ residents with hope wiped from their hearts.
The Greater New Jersey Conference stepped up and stepped out to respond with a wave of care through volunteers, dollars, and experience when Superstorm Sandy devastated New Jersey. Through this effort, A Future With Hope was born with its vision that “hope emerges where residents, businesses, organizations, government, and institutions work together to heal communities.”
Under the leadership of Bishop Schol and Bobbie Ridgley, AFWH’s recovery program repaired or rebuilt more than 250 homes, utilized more than 11,000 volunteers (many hosted by our local churches), and raised more than $16 million dollars for its mission. GNJ and AFWH made an indelible impact in those disaster hit shore communities.
Reflecting on the upcoming anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, The Greater New Jersey Conference, once again, finds itself in a position to respond to hurting communities due to the impact Hurricane Ida had on September 1, 2021. With devastating floods, winds, and tornadoes, the northeastern United States was one of the hardest hit regions. The scope of the damage is far reaching with over 85,000 FEMA registrations, disaster declarations in 12 counties, and the loss of 30 lives.
It’s been over a year since Hurricane Ida hit and work has yet to begin to help households recover and return home. Limited funding and changes in the FEMA process have protracted recovery for impacted households who need assistance from disaster agencies.
Thanks to a generous grant from UMCOR, GNJ is setting up its recovery program to assist impacted households through disaster case management, volunteers to repair homes, and resources to aid in recovery. The key to effective recovery in communities is the partnership between survivors and disaster case managers who coordinate necessary services and address complex disaster recovery needs. We are prioritizing households most in need of support, families with limited incomes, adults over the age of 65, and persons with access and functional needs.
If you are interested in learning about how you or your church can become involved with GNJ’s Ida Road to Renewal, please reach out to Andrea Wren-Hardin, Disaster Recovery Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cricket Denton, Volunteer Coordinator, at email@example.com.