Local team helps Sandy victims in New Jersey

A “Volunteers in Mission” (VIM) team returned last week from the New Jersey coast to work with Hurrican Sandy victims. The team was part of the United Methodist Committee on Relief – UMCOR of Western PA. The “early response team” helped to move sand away and gravel under homes were machines could not reach, work with new insulation in homes where flooding occurred, assisted overwhelmed home owners with general cleanups inside and outside their homes, construct basic home aids, plus sort linens, clothes, etc. donated for victims.

The group stayed at the Lacy Methodist Church in Lacy, N.J., where victims were still housed since the loss of their homes. The group viewed the complete destruction on 100s of homes plus 1,000s of homes waiting for the determination if they could be reconstructed. The Lacy church leaders organized work sites along with the AmeriCorps group. They focused on the locations of Forked River, Lacy and Lovallette, N.J.

Local team participants from the First United Methodist Church on Market St., Warren, were early response team coordinators: Rich and Mary Schall of Tionesta and Dara Sterling of Warren. Others participants were Ron and Marti Casteel (also trained in early response) of Russell, Mary Jo Zubrod and Phyllis Wright of Warren, Dan Russo of Warren and the Grace United Methodist Church, Andy Blystone – pastor of United Methodist Church in Tionesta and Sam Richardson of Tionesta, plus Susan Miller and Jenny DiSantis from southwest Pennsylvania. Transportation was provided by the Otterbein United Methodist Church of Pittsfield and First United Methodist Church of Warren.