Initial Hurricane Cleanup Needs in New Jersey Met; Rebuilding Begins

Four hours. That’s the longest period for which residents of New Jersey’s hardest-hit Hurricane Sandy areas are allowed to return to their homes these days. In places like Port Norris, the visits are scheduled; in the disaster zone, it’s residents only, and each resident may only carry one suitcase. 

Eleven days after Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, Maggie* still had not been back to her home. Driving around her neighborhood in search of help, she noticed the work trailers of a crew mucking out another house. Hoping for some advice, Maggie approached the team.

Miguel,*a volunteer with the rapid response team, was thinking of his family in Guatemala as he worked on a house in Maggie’s neighborhood. Around him was a community devastated by weather, while his relatives in Central America were suffering the effects of an earthquake. Though it was late afternoon, Miguel convinced his exhausted team to begin a new job at Maggie’s that day. Despite the stress of sorting through her destroyed possessions, the team’s prayers calmed Maggie, and she was able to begin the work with a sense of peace.

WIll you help in this time of need by clicking here?

The day after Sandy touched down in Atlantic City, NJ, Nazarene Disaster Response (NDR) was assessing needs and garnering support for the Metro New York District. Rapid response teams from Northeast Indiana and Virginia Districts arrived the following week, working from the New Beginnings Church of the Nazarene in Edison, NJ to help assess damage, feed the hungry, clear debris and care for the community.

In 12 days of service, the two rapid response teams of 38 volunteers commuted three-to-four hours daily from Long Island, NY, cooked and served 3,000 hot meals, mucked out or gutted seven homes and two churches, cleared one downed tree and offered countless prayers. 

Gerri’s husband knew the cost of mucking out a house could be between $3,500 - $5,500; not a Christian himself, he found it difficult to believe anyone would do the work for free “just because of Jesus” – but “their basement apartment was mucked out in record time,” said Aileen McKernan, a member of the Virginia District Rapid Response Team.

A rapid response team from North Carolina just finished work in Freeport, Long Island. There are currently 120 volunteers across 14 Work and Witness teams scheduled to start construction in the next phase of disaster recovery, and more are needed.

In Cape May, NJ, the reconstruction needs are becoming clearer, and NDR will need work teams to begin rebuilding after the New Year. The pastor of the Tom's River, NJ Church of the Nazarene still hasn’t had access to the neighboring barrier islands. But in light of the 500 meals New Holland Church of the Nazarene helped with on Thanksgiving, when he does get access to the islands, he hopes the same support that fed his community will be there to help the next ones rebuild. 

The real work in New Jersey will begin in January. As media coverage dies down, the local pastors continue to pray that help will be there, even without yet knowing just how great their need will be.

*Name changed

How to Help:

1. Pray

Pray for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, as well as the staff and volunteer teams who are working to rebuild.

2. Volunteer

Interested volunteers can contact Rick O'Neil at with any questions. All teams must register as a Work & Witness team before they can be deployed.

Nazarene Disaster Response and Work &Witness are now moving into a long-term response phase and are requesting that all volunteer work teams please register with Nazserve at under the "Metro New York District: Hurricane Sandy Relief" at

Crisis Care Kits are in high demand. These can be sent to Fawn Grove; further information is available online at

For individuals or organizations that wish to send material donations, please contact John Bowen at

Donations for emergency aid such as heaters, and longer-term cleanup and rebuilding are in high demand.

3. Give

As always, you can contribute securely online here. You can also contribute via check at the following addresses:

Make checks payable to General Treasurer and send them to:
Global Treasury Services
Church of the Nazarene
P.O. Box 843116
Kansas City, MO 64184-3116

Be sure to put ACM1833 - USA/Canada Hurricanes in the Memo area

In Canada: Make checks payable to Church of the Nazarene Canada and send them to:
Church of the Nazarene Canada
20 Regan Road, Unit 9
Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3.

Be sure to put ACM1833 - USA/Canada Hurricanes in the Memo area.

Thanks for your prayers and contributions.

Originally published by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries International