While a thick blanket of snow fell across the Northeast last weekend, it did little to impede disaster response teams from North Carolina and Virginia which remain in New Jersey and New York more than three months after Hurricane Sandy.
The Mid-Atlantic teams are engaged in recovery efforts in the Jamaica section of New York City and in Allenwood, N.J., on the coast about 40 miles east of Trenton. Both areas were hit hard by Sandy, which pummeled the region Oct. 29.
The heavy snowstorm Feb. 9, which dropped more than three feet on parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts, was less severe west and south of there, and Gaylon Moss, disaster relief coordinator for North Carolina Baptist Men and Women, said there were “no big issues for us.”
Virginia Baptist Disaster Response briefly placed volunteers on alert for possible deployment in the wake of the blizzard, but coordinator Dean Miller said Feb. 11 that “after conversations with leadership in other states it appears that there is no need for a callout at this time.”
Miller said the Virginia disaster response group is collaborating with its North Carolina colleagues, channeling Virginia volunteers through NCBM/W, which is combining them with its own volunteers and providing logistical support and identifying projects.
Moss said he expects recovery work in the area to continue for another six months to a year, and that many more volunteers are needed. Miller echoed the request and said Virginia volunteers should contact NCBM/W to participate.
Both men said they are encouraging college students to volunteer during their spring breaks in March or April .
Since recovery efforts began, well over 600,000 meals have been served and 925 projects completed, said Moss. As a direct result, 45 people have made professions of faith in the area, he added.
The disaster recovery ministries are focusing attention in other locations as well. NCBM/W is repairing damage in coastal Pamlico County from Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and in Raleigh from an April 2011 twister.
Virginia’s disaster response is anticipating opportunities this summer on the state’s Eastern Shore, another area hard hit by Sandy. “We are waiting for the local committee to make some key decisions before we move forward,” said Miller.
Information for volunteers is available at North Carolina Baptist Men and Women’s website.
Robert Dilday ([email protected]) is managing editor of the Religious Herald.