The Voices of Sandy Recovery — Making a Difference

The Voices of Sandy Recovery — Making a Difference

Joanne Utley


Open Doors, Open Purses

Rev. Wesley Daniel is an assistant site coordinator in the Brooklyn recovery office, which he helped establish in St. Mark’s UMC. He serves as the pastor for Calvary UMC in the Bronx, but previously spent 10 years in Brooklyn.

Daniel noted that getting help in Brooklyn was “a huge task” at first because the storm damage was less obvious than in other places. The floodwaters created more damage inside homes than outside. A critical part of their work was to help people negotiate the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s roadmap to get funding.

He stresses to churches that the money they have been giving all along to UMCOR is now coming back into their communities to help to rebuild homes and lives.

“People have felt that the church is really doing something,” Daniel said.

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Veteran of Disaster Relief

Bill Clark, a member of the White Sulphur Springs UMC in the Catskill Hudson District, has a long history of recovery work stretching from Haiti to the Catskills. His greatest satisfaction comes in seeing people move back into their rebuilt homes.

Making a Difference

Rev. Matt Curry, director of Connectional Ministries, was part of Bishop Middleton’s cabinet team that spent a week working on homes in Brooklyn and Connecticut in July. He was struck by the immensity of the work that still needed to be done and the realization that it would take other teams to follow to finish the work.

He saw the work of volunteers as a faithful response to the call God places on all our lives – a call that we often face with some reluctance.

“The challenge of discipleship is to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone,” said Curry, who has been a part of several Hurricane Katrina relief trips.

He noted that while the need for help may not seem as critical today as it was three years ago, for the families who are still displaced “it’s as acute today” as it was the day after Sandy struck.

COMING TOMORROW:Long Island homeowner Tom Kurianski shares his story; Gina Grubbs, assistant coordinator for recovery ministries, talks about the physical and emotional toll; and Darrell Hayes of the Episcopal Church on volunteering.