Since Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast in late October, Mission to North America (MNA) has coordinated the PCA’s outreach efforts. MNA’s Disaster Response Ministry has established two key staging areas at churches in New Jersey and one in New York. At least 2,000 volunteers have already served, but more volunteers and supplies are needed.
Each staging area is staffed by an MNA site coordinator and has a warehouse for supplies, as well as the capacity to host volunteers. New City Fellowship of Atlantic City has been one of MNA’s busier staging points. Calvary PCA in Allenwood served as an ideal gateway location for getting relief to New Jersey’s hardest-hit coastal areas such as Manasquan and Bay Head. In New York, Ascension PCA from Queens works with area churches to clean and rebuild devastated areas such as the Rockaways, Breezy Point, and Howard Beach.
While most PCA churches in Sandy’s path were spared major damage, Redentor PCA, a multicultural church plant in South River, N.J., was not as fortunate. The church’s basement was completely flooded, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
“They grappled with whether they could continue as a church,” says Arklie Hooten, MNA’s disaster response director. “MNA was able to channel funds from the larger PCA family to repair their physical plant, enabling the church to restore Sunday worship,” reports Hooten. “Pastor (Fernando) Freitas wept with joy when he learned that we were ready to help.” In addition, MNA funds and volunteers helped several Redentor families who were displaced by the storm.
As relief efforts transition from clean up to rebuilding, MNA continues to need volunteers, particularly those with construction skills. It is also asking for building supplies and funding. “But above all,” says Hooten, “please pray.”
While Sandy may no longer be front-page news, “We’re praying that people won’t forget about us and will continue to come and serve,” says Hooten. “It’s going to be a long haul.”
For updated information about staging sites, needed sup- plies, or how to register as a volunteer, visit pcamna.org or contact Sherry Lanier at 678-294-3012.