It’s been almost two and a half months since Hurricane Sandy wrecked the Jersey Shore, but for those hardest hit by the storm, the pain and loss is still fresh.
Last month, a group of Moorestonians volunteered to help clean out some of the roughly 7,000 Atlantic City homes ravaged and flooded by the storm. They’ll be returning this weekend and are seeking as many volunteers as possible.
“The more we can get, the merrier,” said Helen Davies-Miramontes, one of the organizers of the excursion.
The group will meet at the Moorestown Community House and leave at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12. The volunteers will first stop off at Second Baptist Church (in Atlantic City) to deliver furniture, linens (bedspreads, sheets, towels), space heaters and air mattresses, along with any other items people care to donate—food and coats are no longer needed.
After dropping by the church, the volunteers will fan out across the city to “muck out” damaged homes, which involves tearing out floors, walls and doors and carrying out debris and shoveling it into trash bags. The trip is being coordinated in partnership with Second Baptist and AmeriCorps.
In an email she sent seeking volunteers, Davies-Miramontes explained that approximately 1,500 homes remain in need of internal demolition.
“Shelters are getting ready to close and folks are moving back into cold homes,” she wrote. “The need remains urgent, so spread the word.”
Davies-Miramontes worries that, because it’s not in the news every day, people may have started to forget about how bad things still are along the coast.
If all you see of Atlantic City is the boardwalk and the casinos, it’s easy to miss the devastation, she said. “Once you get … into the streets, that’s when you start to see. Homes are boarded up, row after row, street after street.”
In some of those homes, many people are still living without heat or light, she said.
Because of the hard labor needed to muck out the homes, Davies-Miramontes suggested only teens or adults volunteer Saturday. But even if you can’t make the trip, she said folks can help just by making donations.
Anyone interested in volunteering should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-304-9989 and leave a message, and indicate if you are commuting (willing to drive) or will be meeting the group at 11 a.m. in Atlantic City. Second Baptist Church is located at 110 Rev Drive, Isaac S Coles Plaza, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 (GPS may question the name of the street—it is accurate and you will be guided there).
Those who wish to donate but can’t make the trip may also send items to Second Baptist Church via Amazon. Click here to visit their wish list.
If you plan on volunteering, make sure to come prepared:
- Wear old clothes. (Plan to wash clothes separately when you go home.)
- Bring lunch (extra for AmeriCorps volunteers if you choose)
- AmeriCorps provides masks, gloves, and safety glasses
- Layer—no heat in homes
- Work boots or sneakers
- Work gloves and safety glasses if you have them
- Tools if you have them: crowbars, (electric) screwdrivers, etc.