Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Disaster relief

RSS By: Pastor Craig Miller

Disaster relief coordinator Pastor Craig Miller shares disaster relief information in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

How a simple phone call can change a person’s life...

Jun 19, 2014

The Long Island Long Term Recovery Group was established to respond to needs after Hurricane Irene. When Sandy struck they had only begun to organize and had to now address another, more severe storm. World Renew, a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, joined the LTRG to begin the process of assessing the extent of need in Long Island communities. Through their walk-in centers they interviewed almost 400 cases. AmeriCorps volunteers contacted an additional 950 cases before their funding ran out.


The LI LTRG decided to continue reaching out to known cases left on the AmeriCorps call list. In March of this year they established a Call Center through the Long Island Volunteer Center. This is one story from the Call Center, by Beata Clark and Francesca Yellico:


Recently while completing calls from The AmeriCorps "wait list" we came across an 89-year old Italian widow, named Elena. Her house, as many others on the south shore, has sustained severe damage from Hurricane Sandy. Four feet of salt water has destroyed the entire first floor of her home.


Immediately following the storm, AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team did the basic muck out and mold remediation. Unfortunately, 18 months later the house is still in disrepair, untouched from where the volunteers left it over a year ago. The home has no insulation or sheetrock and the bare concrete floor is cracking and heavily damaged. The house is being held up by rotting and decaying wooden studs and the electrical wiring is corroded by the salt water and creating hazardous conditions.

This woman has been living in these horrible conditions for so long because she didn’t know where to turn to for help. She accepted her circumstances and carried this burden all alone because she was afraid and didn’t have anyone to trust or confide in. Living alone and surviving the storm left her feeling unsafe and vulnerable.


After speaking for quite some time and establishing a rapport she finally found someone she could trust and confide in. We were so honored to have been part of that. Through the work of the Call Center we were able not only find Elena but to connect her to different resources in the community. It is with great joy that we report to you the new road Elena is on.


We were able to connect her with a DCM, who immediately brought her case to the Unmet Needs Roundtable. Not only will all her electrical wiring be redone through their generosity but the Southern Baptists Disaster Relief volunteers immediately committed to do the insulation, sheetrock and spackling.


We cannot begin to express how happy we are for Elena. Things will be changing in such a beautiful way for her. We are in awe of the goodness and care being shown towards her by all involved. We feel so inspired and thankful to have been able to initiate this wonderful recovery process.


Special thanks to: PricewaterhouseCoopers, LTRG, FEGS, the Unmet Needs Roundtable and Southern Baptists Disaster Relief volunteers for making all this possible. This is a prime example of teamwork at its finest. We are so proud to work with such wonderful people.


Special thanks to Diana O’Neill for re-opening the Call Center and enabling us reach out to these vulnerable residents. You are allowing us to be the voice for those still quietly suffering.


Reach the Call Center at 631-630-9221.          


disaster relief
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