According to United States news reports, at least 48 people are dead and eight million are without power because of “Superstorm” Sandy that recently whipped through the East Coast. Although the storm affected various states along the eastern seaboard, NY seemed to be the most impacted because of the closing of the New York Stock Exchange and damage to the 108-year-old subway system.
Adventist Community Services Disaster Response (ACS DR) teams in partnership with other voluntary agencies and Federal and state governments, meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those affected by providing food, blankets, clothing, and other much needed relief supplies. “Its important for our church to be there to help people who have been affected by widespread devastation,” said Pastor Dan Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. “We could be the Jesus that some of these people will only see and experience from these acts of kindness,” he said.
We could be the Jesus that some of these people will only see and experience from these acts of kindness.
“Please remember to pray for the many victims of this tragedy, and for all of our faithful ACS and rescue and relief workers and volunteers,” said Sung Kwon, NAD ACS DR executive director.
ACS specialises in warehouse management, cooperating with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) other VOADs (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) in a disaster area.
How you and your church or group can help
With so much trouble and so many disasters surrounding us, or even far away, what can you do to help? ACS gives advice on how to be prepared for a disaster and to help others when affected here.
ACS is able to leverage its partnerships and bulk purchasing power to provide goods to disaster survivors for a fraction of retail cost. A financial donation to ACS DR today will help your church bring vital supplies and relief to people devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
Here is a bulletin/flyer that you can use to let others know how they can financially help through ACS.
Personal care kits needed
Churches and small groups such as youth groups, Bible study groups, Sabbath school classes, and others, can also help by making personal care kits to hand out to people who are not able to use their homes due to flooding or wind and tree damage. There are 11 different types of care kits that can help people who are displaced from their homes and schools. Go here for the list and contents of each.
For updates, check the Disaster Response page on Facebook.
To find out what your local Adventist Community Services department is doing in regards to Hurricane Sandy, please contact your local conference office. Here are a few reports from some of the affected areas:
Allegheny East Conference territory – Minnie McNeil, ACS director
Areas in Pa. are flooded and there are power outages and lots of trees down. Currently, there are no reports of any churches or members who have had damage.
Northern and southern NJ have power lines and trees down also. A tree fell on the home of the pastor of the Neptune church, but he is okay. Thirteen hundred evacuees from NJ are being brought to Pa.
Greater New York Conference (GNYC) territory – Rueben Merino, ACS director
Ninety per cent of the population in Long Island does not have electricity, which is making communication by phone and email very difficult. Most of the Adventist pastors do not have a cell phone signal.
Tuesday, the Adventist Youth Emergency Services (AYES) Corps were doing assessments around the city including Long Island and Westchester County. It is noted that AYES Corps members have also been conducting disaster trainings prior to Hurricane Sandy and were already at work in some of the NY shelters while the storm was going on.
It is estimated that at least 42 Adventist churches (4500 members) are in the most affected areas. Note: Only eight pastors have been reached at this time. The following churches have families that have been affected:
- Manor Road church: 4 families affected
- First Russian church: 4 families affected
- Freeport Spanish church: 1 family affected
- Shiloh Bilingual church: 6 families affected
- Maranatha church: 2 families affected
There are two Adventist churches currently open as shelters and are in need of supplies:
- Emmanuel church, Bronx, NY
- Wakefield church, Bronx, NY
The following is a report of the operation centers:
- Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn are going to start operations on Wednesday, October 31 at 9:00 am.
- Bronx and Queens Centers are going to be used as collection centers and warehouse. The centers have 15,000 square feet available.
- Brooklyn Center is going to be used for distribution.
- It is being determined if one of the churches in Long Island may be used as a distribution center.
- Supplies that are needed include: generators, canned food, baby formula, disposable diapers, cleaning supplies, water, and blankets.
The GNYC ACS DR is planning to raise $100,000 for 100 Adventist families that have total or partial loss because of the flooding. They want to give $1000 to each family or adjust that amount depending on the need. “In addition, I’m working with my administration to collect a special offering for the following two Sabbaths in all the GNYC churches,” said Merino, “and Wednesday we are planning to visit some of the 20 families that we already know have had their homes flooded.“
Mountain View Conference territory – Larry Boggess, president
West Virginia has 126,000 power outages and a 45-mile stretch of highway I-68 on both sides of the Md and WV state line is closed due to continued blizzard conditions. The blizzard warning is due to expire at 4:00 pm Wednesday. The WV governor has declared a state of emergency for the whole state due to the large amount of snowfall, with some reports of two or more feet and more to come. A light rain is being experienced in the other parts of the Conference.
New Jersey Conference territory – Claudia Ramirez, ACS Disaster Response coordinator
Earlier Tuesday, people were still being rescued from their homes. A lot of the residents from Bergen County have been relocated to shelters. The NJ Conference ACS is ready to help out wherever necessary and is planning to open a warehouse. Items that are needed for distribution include personal care kits, clothing, and canned food items.
Pennsylvania Conference territory – Jeannette Dare, ACS director
None of the members or churches near rivers and creeks have experienced flooding. Blue Mountain Academy in Hamburg, Pa., has had no damages.
Others mobilised to help
A team of trained disaster responders from Union College’s International Rescue and Relief program left early Tuesday morning bound for a staging area in Pennsylvania, where they will help East Coast residents deal with the aftermath of Sandy. Led by instructors Brian Hauff and Aaron Kent, the team of 10 students has been instructed to pack for light search and rescue and swift water rescue operations. The group plans to arrive at Blue Mountain Academy from Lincoln, Neb., late Wednesday and prepare for immediate deployment.