collage of work team photos

— Photos by Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church team members

Nine volunteer team members from Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Grayson, Maryland, headed for Staten Island, New York, in October 2014.

Team member Dick Moore shared some photographs taken by team members and information about the trip with PDA when they returned home.  Excerpts from his report share the team’s story:

“Our goal was to provide renovation assistance to those whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy which came ashore in Staten Island, N.Y. and lower Manhattan in October 2012.

“Thousands of homes and apartments were flooded and damaged. On the Ocean side (Midland area) of Staten Island we could see maybe 1 in 25 homes that were still boarded up after two years. In this same area, 15 feet of storm surge came rapidly, filling one story homes to the attic, in spite of the fact they were built on 4-foot crawl spaces.

“The Calvary Presbyterian Church (dates back to 1870), our host Church with a membership of 60 (yes 60 members), stepped in immediately after the storm and began providing meals and clothing to four families who were living in the Midland area and were without power. This lasted until power was restored Christmas of 2012. Calvary Church began hosting volunteer work groups as part of PDA and Presbyterian Hope in Action (PHIA) in April 2013.

“Living and cooking facilities were provided by the Calvary Presbyterian Church at a cost of $25.00 per day per volunteer, paid for by the Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church Mission Fund.

“The Calvary Church provided a kitchen, dining/fellowship area, bathrooms, one new shower and bunks with mattresses. The Calvary Church Members provided all food and cooked our evening meal.

“The Woods team decided to eat out on Wednesday evening at a highly recommended local Italian Restaurant. We all agree that the Pizza was the best we had ever tasted.”

Episcopal Relief Team Staten Island provided the on-site project lead, and there were three young mission volunteers who worked with the team for the entire work time. The Woods team was on the work sites by 8:30 a.m. and stopped work by 4:30 or 5:00 p.m. with max a half hour to eat sandwiches for lunch.

The team helped at the Calvary Church hosting site as well as three work sites.

“One of the homes was owned by young family who had insurance, but the mortgage company revalued the home after the storm and demanded all the insurance money to pay down the mortgage to the new value of the home. They were living in a rental and paying the mortgage at the same time. We installed siding and soffit on the entire home, including trim. We also built a rear door platform, moved one interior wall to provide room for a queen size bed in the “master,” and framed in two closets in the bedrooms (where there were none before).”

Another family had paid a contractor $60,000 for significant work, and he had walked out without completing work. The Woods team completed the removal of old flooring and installed new laminate floor.

The third site on Staten Island was a small two-story home previously worked by another volunteer group. A small storage closet needed drywall (with mudding) installation to complete the work.

“The Calvary Presbyterian Church Volunteer Village and the personnel associated with it were simply outstanding in every way . . . the Episcopal on-site team was nothing but outstanding . . . this group would like to return for additional work in the spring.”

More than 3,000 volunteers have worked in New York and New Jersey since Superstorm Sandy left its mark. PDA is thankful for the mark of compassion the teams are leaving in the name of Christ.


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