Assemblies of God districts significantly impacted by Hurricane Sandy, which struck the Northeast United States in late October, are encouraging volunteer church teams to be a part of the recovery and revitalization, but stress the importance of coordination with the districts as the key first step for any team.
"For the most part, we are still doing cleanouts," states David Nuzzolo, who's heading up the New York District efforts and is the executive assistant to District Superintendent Duane Durst. "There are some churches that are ready for rebuilding, but most still need to be cleaned out, have floors cleaned, the buildings sanitized and drywall replaced due to flooding."
Nuzzolo says that in some areas, teams may not be permitted to help rebuild as certain licenses are being required. "Specialized, skilled teams could possibly help in situations like those," Nuzzolo says, "but there are no guarantees."
Emphasizing the need for teams to make the appropriate district contact prior to making plans to help, Nuzzolo explains that any effort to come help needs to be considered a missions trip.
"We really need for teams to contact us first, find out what works best for the church, then prepare just like they were going on a missions trip," Nuzzolo says. "They will need to provide their own transportation, in most cases their own food and they'll need to bring sleeping bags - they may only have a church basement or fellowship hall to sleep in."
Nuzzolo adds that although some tools may be supplied, teams that can bring their own tools - such as brooms, sheetrock knives, crowbars, hammers, etc. - will make the task much easier for the church. However, he warns that all workers should come prepared with N95 masks (and wear them) as mold and asbestos (in some of the older buildings) is a real issue.
The New Jersey District reports that there is a need for teams to help with community clean-up - interior and exterior - as well as for skilled laborers, such as those who do tree removal, plumbing, electrical work, skill carpentry and mold removal. Other laborers are also needed.
For the New York District, teams are asked to go online to ProjectSandyNY.org and fill out the form based on what they would like to offer and to what area. Nuzzolo says that when a team registers, the response will include items the team needs to bring and jobs that need to be done.
For the New Jersey District, teams are asked to go online to NJAGrelief.org and determine what needs they may be able to meet or assist with (be sure to look under the "want to help" tab). The district and churches are teaming to help hard hit areas, where possible, recover. For additional questions, contact the district office.
Those desiring to help the Spanish Eastern District should contact Domingo Valdes, director of Missions at 201-358-9006.