On January 19 and 20, 2013, more than 100 HOPE worldwide volunteers and their friends from Central Jersey gutted and moved appliances in 40 homes. Most of those we served were seniors who have not been able to clean up since the storm. Many were widows or caring for a disabled spouse.
Our hearts broke as when we heard about the pain our neighbors had endured. Volunteer leaders, Kelly Baldwin, shed a lot of tears as she phoned the storm victims to determine their greatest needs.
The needs were great and small:
- A man, who was taking care of his disabled wife, asked if someone could just give him a hug;
- A family had to use a ladder their home through the second floor due to first floor damage;
- Another family needed help removing sand blocking their front door.
Each situation made us grateful for what we have. Watching the volunteers pour out their hearts to help was awe inspiring.
People were thanking God for providing help by way of the HOPE worldwide volunteers. Many tried to pay us, but we told them we were just grateful to serve. They could not thank us enough, and found it hard to believe that so many came to help and refused any money.
Thank You To Our Partners
A group of young girls from our volunteer families started a group called “Hope Scouts.” They baked and delivered cookies to the homeowners we were serving. There were very few dry eyes when they showed up with warm smiles and cookies.
Two local high schools sent volunteers as well as Clean Ocean Action, Hope and Healing, the Clinton Global Initiative, the President’s Inaugural Committee and Allstate Insurance.
Operation Brick Food Relief (OBFR), who provides supper daily to victims, offered us their building as a headquarters for these two days. We are grateful for the catered lunch they provided our volunteers on both days.
OBFR and Hope and Healing canvassed the communities prior to this service weekend to find households who desperately needed help. They will continue to be our partners in the ongoing cleanup and rebuilding process.
The Newark Star Ledger, NJ's major newspaper, ran two separate stories on HOPE worldwide. We are grateful and hope this generates more volunteers and support for the long journey ahead.
So far, this program has resulted in over 2,700 volunteer hours served over a four week period and we are not done.
Your financial support is appreciated and needed. To make a donation to help HOPE worldwide’s Central New Jersey Chapter click here. We will be updating the efforts on Hope4jersey.org.
For complete MLK Day Volunteer results, go to www.hopeww.org/mlk