Published: 22 August 2014
Pictured from left to right: American Red Cross President for Humanitarian Services Cliff Holtz, American Red Cross Divisional Vice President Don Herring, United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey Bishop John Schol, Director of Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group Eric Nedelkoff, Long Branch Council Member Joy Bastelli, Long Branch Covenant Church Pastor Tony Moss, Communication Director of Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund Eileen Lofrese, Lutheran Reformation Church Reverend Matt Cimorelli, Episcopal Dioceses of NJ and Newark Disaster Coordinator Keith Adams, Lutheran Social Ministries of NJ Disaster Relief Coordinator Amy Pennenga, Lutheran Reformation Church Sandy Relief Coordinator Debbie Keszler, A Future With Hope Director Bobbie Ridgely, American Red Cross CEO of the South Jersey Region Nancy Orlando.
LONG BRANCH, NJ – It takes cooperation and partnership with all level of non-profit, government and community organizations to make a full recovery from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. A perfect example of this partnership is the recovery team that has helped April and Russell Woods rebuild their home in Long Branch. The Woods’ home was one of thousands damaged or destroyed during Superstorm Sandy in October of 2012.
A Future With Hope, American Red Cross, United Methodist Committee on Relief, the First Lady’s Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, Robin Hood Foundation, Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group, Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey and Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey and Newark in cooperation with Long Branch and state government all contributed in the complete rebuilding of the Woods’ home. On Thursday, August 21, representatives from these organizations joined to draw attention to the effectiveness of these partnerships in recovery.
“When it comes to helping people recover, especially after such a devastating storm as Sandy, partnership is essential,” said Bishop John Schol of the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey. “We feel it’s a part of our mission to serve people at all times, but it’s especially important in times of such dire need. We look forward to continuing this mission with A Future With Hope.”
Russell Woods didn’t have much hope during the night of the storm and in the days and weeks after. He abandoned his home the night Sandy hit shore when the water was about chest-high. After the storm he learned the flood waters had compromised the house’s foundation and that the house would have to be completely rebuilt.
“The storm was just devastating,” Russell Woods said. “Then to have to go through the process of trying to get our house rebuilt was also exhausting. I don’t know what we would have done without the help of everyone involved.”
While insurance did cover some of the cost, we couldn’t rebuild without help.”
“This is the kind of thing that can happen when everyone works together to help others,” Schol said. “To see a home rebuilt from the ground up, reminds us that anything is possible when we combine our resources.”
The American Red Cross has played a significant role in the on-going recovery from Sandy by supporting many recovery and rebuilding organizations. It donated $1.5 million to A Future With Hope to directly help those hit hardest by the storm.
“We have a long history of being there to help people recover from disasters,” said American Red Cross President for Humanitarian Services Cliff Holtz. “There was and still is significant need for those affected by Sandy and we are more than pleased to be a part of the coordinated effort by A Future With Hope and others to help continue the rebuilding process for the entire Jersey Shore area.”
The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund chaired by New Jersey’s First Lady Mary Pat Christie is also a significant partner with A Future With Hope and provided a grant of $750,000 to help rebuild 50 Sandy impacted homes. The Woods’ house is one of the projects they are helping to fund. “Recovery takes years. We are glad to partner with organizations like A Future With Hope who will be here for the long term to help people, like Russell and April get back into their homes,” said Mary Pat Christie, Chair of the Fund. To date, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund has provide $33.8 million in grants to more than 100 organizations who are on ground restoring lives, rebuilding homes and aiding communities.
Volunteers from the Brooklawn United Methodist Church are working on the home this week and it is estimated the home will be complete by October, 2 years after the storm.
About A Future With Hope:
A Future With Hope is a nonprofit organization started by the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey to lead relief and recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy. Volunteers come from all over the United States to rebuild homes. The organization’s goal is to use 20,000 volunteers to help rebuild 300 to 500 homes and provide case management to affected families.
Through the end of July, A Future With Hope has rebuilt more than 69 homes and they will have more than 100 homes rebuilt by the end of 2014. Volunteers have completed work in 21 different communities including Atlantic City, Brick, Forked River, Highlands, Keansburg, Little Egg Harbor, Manahawkin, Ocean Gate, Union Beach and others. A Future With Hope has 15 host sites that can house 350 volunteers from out of state each week. To date, it has hosted more than 7,500 volunteers from 38 states. For more information please visit afuturewithhope.org.