Report on our Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

Sandy Update #12                 11/18/12  1:15 pm

This update is by Travis Sharpe

I want to personally thank each and every individual, church, business, and family who made our response to Hurricane Sandy so effective. There were many contributors from many states that played a role financially, materially, and also with volunteer help.

Without your help and support, our response would not be possible on such a large scale.

We arrived on Staten Island late Monday, November, 5th. We were hard at work early Tuesday morning the 6th. At our first site, Midland Beach, we set up our tent and hosted all of the hot food distribution for that site.

The site was a beach parking lot owned by the city of New York. This was one of the locations that the city had set up to be a distribution center. They were collecting goods of all kinds and distributing them to the survivors in that immediate area.

Also on this site was FEMA, Verizon, AT&T, NYPD, Red Cross, and some other agencies as well.

With our big tent, it gave us the ability to organize all of the food and supplies needed for preparing the hot meals. We were also able to host the other groups that came in with prepared meals or who came in to cook meals on site.

Several groups came in each day to assist us. We are grateful for each and every one of them. There were some local people who worked with us each day as well. They provided valuable help serving the meals and getting meals out to the homes of people who could not get to us.

On Tuesday November, 13, we got word from the city that they wanted to cease all operations at the Midland Beach site. After serving dinner that evening, we took down the tent and loaded all of the supplies.

At that point we were not sure where we would be able to continue our work. We were invited by the city to set up at another location at a place called Miller Field. However, after surveying that location, we determined that there was not a suitable place for us there.

It was raining very heavily and all of the asphalt spots were already taken. There was room in the grassy field but there was already one city bus stuck up to its axles in the mud.

We were next invited to set up at Christian Pentecostal Church which was a couple miles away. With that being our only viable option, we headed there.

When we arrived at the church Wednesday afternoon, we found a wonderful, gracious group of hard working people. In fact, they had been working since the storm made landfall.

The entire church property was transformed into a relief center and distribution hub. We joined in by cooking the meals for the volunteers as well as cooking meals and sending them back over to a couple neighborhoods in Midland Beach.

Everyone at the church fell in love with April and Hunter. They served in such a way that everyone could see their selflessness and their spirit of serving others. I am extremely proud of them both!

We were able to wrap up our initial relief operation on Saturday evening, November, 17. We are now in route back to AL. We will continue to stay in touch with our contacts in Staten Island and contribute to the long time recovery process as we are able.

All together, we served over 16,000 hot meals, coordinated and delivered over $25,000 worth of donated goods, and hosted several volunteers and groups as they served.

Thanks again to all who have made this initial effort possible, you have touched the lives of many.