Here are a few updates on the hurricane relief efforts in New York City.
1. Nearly 2 weeks after superstorm Sandy made landfall, there are still people without heat and electricity in New York City. At 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 13, gas rationing in New Jersey is scheduled to end. However, NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to continue the gas rationing program in New York City. Cars alternate days to fill up at the gas pumps, depending on the last digit on the plate.
2. Greater New York and Northeastern conference officers and the Adventist Community Services (ACS) leaders reported that more than 48 churches have been severely damaged by the hurricane. One of them, Solid Rock church is reported to be a total loss as a result of water damage. Adventist Risk Management is assessing the property damage and will process claims as soon as possible. The ACS departments of the conferences involved purchased generators from all over the country to help storm survivors.
3. Donald King, Atlantic Union Conference president, expressed an urgent appeal to the North American Division at its recent year-end meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland, to help the victims of this destructive hurricane. The General Conference and the North American Division responded by making an appropriation of $200,000 and $500,000 respectively for storm relief. The Atlantic Union Conference administration made an appropriation of $30,000 and several other unions also promised to help. A North American Division Relief Committee was immediately formed to begin allocating the above funding to the affected areas in New York City and New Jersey. The Greater New York and Northeastern conferences have each already received $100,000 with the balance to be dispersed as relief plans are submitted by the conferences to the committee.
4. More than 100 students from seven academies in the Atlantic Union participated in the I Academy Compassion and Leadership Mission and went to New York City on the weekend of November 8-11 to assist with disaster relief. Originally, the I Academy Compassion and Leadership Conference was scheduled to occur at Camp Winnekeag in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, but it was turned into a mission trip instead. The event was sponsored by the Atlantic Union Conference Adventist Youth Ministries and Office of Education and organized in collaboration with the Adventist Community Services department.
5. About 500 volunteers from Atlantic Union churches participated in the relief effort in Far Rockaway on Sabbath, November 10.
6. The Adventist Community Services Disaster Response department will organize another group of 100 adults from various churches in the Boston area to go to New York City on November 25 to help with the clean up effort. The Atlantic Union Conference will continue to assess and monitor the situation in New York City.
7. A special offering was taken in most Atlantic Union Conference churches on November 10 to assist the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy has left millions of people in need of food, water, personal care items, cleaning supplies, shelter, and much more. Continue to pray for those who are still suffering from this disaster. Donations are still being accepted. Make checks payable to the Atlantic Union Conference and indicate in the memo line that it is for the “ACS Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.” Mail donations to Atlantic Union Conference, P.O. Box 1189, South Lancaster, MA 01561.
Additional updates will be shared as they become available. Updates are supplied by Pierre Omeler, director of the Atlantic Union Conference Adventist Community Services Department.