Hurricane Sandy Relief

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.

 

 

Sandy Update # 11                     11/13/12 9:15 pm

Today was a transition day for us because the city shut down the site we were working at last night. This was part of their efforts to consolidate several distribution sites into one for the area.

we were able to move to a church about three miles from the site we have been at here on Staten Island. They are great people and  are giving us support with a place to operate from, supplies to operate with and room and board for our volunteers.

We are welcome to stay here and continue to conduct our relief efforts as we see fit.

Special thanks to Gary Moore of GPA Mobilization Ministries and Craig Layton from Leary Baptist Church in Leary, GA. They brought volunteers and supplies today and helped clean out three flood damaged homes. They report that the homeowners were very, very grateful for the help.

One of the homes had flood water all the way up to the ceiling so all the sheet rock and everything else had to be removed. There are simply a lot of devastated people here and it will take them a very long time to recover.

Tomorrow we will be returning to work in homes helping to clean out and salvage what we can. We will also be preparing meals for the workers and homeowners we are working with.

Thank you so much for your continued prayer and support.

Sandy Update #10                     11/12/12  12:00 pm

The last two days have once again been very busy for us here in Staten Island, NY. Our operation has not slowed down at all. We are still providing hot meals to the residents of the Midland Beach area as well as providing meals for the workers, volunteers, and a host of others as well.

Hunter was honored to serve lunch to these three Airmen just a little while ago.

As of this morning we are still getting a lot of the residents coming in who still have no power, water, or natural gas. One gentleman we spoke with today named Stephen, lives right across the road from where we are set up. He told me about his 69 year old neighbor who was a drowning victim. She simply could not escape the flood waters.

The FEMA tent is set up beside us. They are processing claims as quick as possible to provide financial assistance for the victims. Yesterday they came and got April because they had a lady who was distraught over her losses. April was able to pray with her and calm her down so that she could get through the interview process.

Travis has been able to witness to a lot of people in the last two days as well. Please pray that his words fall on fertile ground. Pat Dye, who is cooking for us, has also been a great witness to many.

This is cool. We were running a little short on food a little while ago so April prayed that more food would come in. Ten minutes later a world famous chef named Bill Telepan showed up with over a dozen workers and 1,500 meals.

They were set up and adding their meals to our serving line within 10 minutes.

We are very grateful for all of the help we have received in this relief effort. Many volunteers have served unselfishly making it possible for our operation to run very well. Gary Moore of Mobilization Ministries will be coming in tomorrow with a team of 11 volunteers. He has already sent two truck loads of supplies and equipment our way.

Right now we are also working on getting a generator that we can leave at Pastor King’s home for him. There are none to be found for at least 300 miles it seems. Help us pray that one shows up!

Sandy Update #9                        11/10/12  1:15 pm

The last couple days have been very busy and hectic to say the least. Today, being the weekend, has been the busiest. Our hot food tent has served at least 500-800 people so far today. Below is a picture of that operation.

We have been so very blessed to have a lot of our friends and partners in the ministry come help us. Thank you to each and everyone who has helped.

Below is Pat Dye cooking up some tasty chicken. We flew Pat in from Augusta, GA to head up our kitchen for the week and he has done a great job for us. Thank you Pat.

 

There are a lot people coming up today who are still without power and natural gas in their homes. We are thankful that the weather forecast for the weekend looks better.

One of the biggest needs we have right now is tables. We have not been able to get any from anywhere. We are operating all of this with only about eight tables.

We have also been giving away a lot of bibles, new testaments, and John and Romans. There are many Russian people here and we have given out a couple cases of Russian bibles too.

 

It has been a blessing to pray with many of the people who have come to eat and get items for their homes.

April and Tara are flying in this afternoon so that will help out a lot. We are not sure of how long we will be able to remain here at this site so we are awaiting an official assessment from the city as to how long we are needed.

Again, thanks to everyone who is supporting our efforts here. We could not do this without you.

 

Sandy Update #8                       11/8/12    6:16 pm

Today has been a very busy, hard day of work for the Unsheltered team and all the volunteers that are here helping us. We started the day by coming back to the Midland Beach site. We arrived early enough to be able to get a great spot to put up our big tent.

The big tent is now up and it houses the hot meal operation on this site. We are cooking meals as well as processing all of the food from restaurants that is being brought in. We have a huge serving line and so far today we have kept it slam full of great food.

There are local restaurants as well as local street food vans that have come to lend a hand. Trust me, we need all the help we can get. The people are cold and hungry. Most homes in this area still have no power.

Below is a picture of Travis and Pastor Michael King of Brighton Beach Baptist Church at the Unsheltered International relief station at Midland Beach. Pastor King lost both of his cars and now his home is not habitable because of black mold due to the flooding.

He will have to relocate and will need a lot of financial assistance.

Another blessing today was a big truck load of supplies that came in from Nottingham, PA. We are thankful to Dr. Gary Moore of GPA Mobilization Ministries for organizing this load of supplies. He has another load of fuel and needed supplies coming tomorrow as well.

Below is a picture of just a little of the load they brought today.

 

Here are some of the many people we have fed today.


The financial needs for our ministries operations here are mounting now. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. Please help us spread the word that there is still a great need.

Sandy Update #7                  11/7/12    7:30 am

The site we worked at yesterday has been shut down today because of the storm that is coming in today and tonight. This site was right on the beach. We were in a beach parking lot.

The Mayors office has called us this morning and requested that we come to another location that is a little further from the beach. They want us to help prepare and serve meals along with many other volunteers.

We are packing up and breaking camp now and should arrive on site at Miller field in about an hour. At some point today we will be forced by the weather to once again shut down.

At that point we will just ride it out. When the storm is over we will resume our operations as best we can. Thank you for your continued prayer and support.

Our financial needs are growing so please contribute as you are able.

Sandy Update #6           11/6/12   1:00 pm

It’s been over a week since Pastor Mike King and his family have been home together.  They have been tirelessly working along side Unsheltered International to provide resources to those that were affected by Sandy.

In fact most of the volunteers, are those that were affected. From fireman, to simple life long residents of Staten Island who have lost everything they own. When asked why they continue to work through their loss, their answered is simple. “It’s just what we do.”

This day began early for Unsheltered International.  Travis and his volunteers hit the streets serving coffee to disaster victims, fireman and police officers.

After setting up at a distribution center among others ready and willing to help, they started cooking and serving hot soup and grilled cheese sandwiches to any and all in need. So far as of noon today, 500 meals had been served, and the people were still pouring in.

“I’d just like a night at home, in my own bed, with my family.”  Said Pastor Mike in tears. How often we take advantage of the simple things, until all at once, they are gone.

Tonight though, for Pastor Mike and his family, might be different. Travis and the volunteers have pulled together and arranged a truck loaded with a generator, gas, food and water to be sent to the Pastors house. So they may go home, if only for a night.

“This Island is destroyed. I mean complete and utter destruction. There are houses, torn from their foundation and washed away. There are cars upside down, and piles of debris at least 5 ft high.  I feel like I am standing in the middle of a war zone. ” Said Travis, the president of Unsheltered International.

 “We are doing the best we can, and praying that God keeps providing. We are in this for the long haul.  So we need continued support and donations, in order to keep helping!”

As if the area isn’t destroyed enough, there is a Nor’easter storm coming, and it is pretty evident that Travis and his volunteers will have to break down and evacuate the area. They will have to move inland, wait out this storm and re locate to set up and begin serving again.

Unsheltered International has been working hand in hand with Verizon wireless, FEMA,  the Salvation Army and several different organizations that have set up stations offering different resources. From clothing, food, water and cell phone charging and service area.

Working together is crucial right now. In order to cover the entire island, they will need to divide and conquer. “We are only in one corner of this destruction. We need so much more supplies and food to help all these people. It’s heartbreaking to just see the loss.”

Thank you for your generous support and your prayers. Please continue to pray for the families that were devastated by this storm.

 

Sandy Update #5

Our trucks, trailers, and mobile resource unit are now on their way to Staten Island, NY. We should arrive there late this evening or tonight.

We will be watching the weather carefully because of the other storm that is on its way. Please help us pray that it turns.

We have our 50 X 100 tent that we need to set up to put our relief center under so we need low winds for that. As of now we have enough food to serve about 2000 meals.

We have supplies for 5000 or more, we will just need to acquire more food to prepare. We will be trying to contact other agencies to try to get supplied with food.

We are working on drop off sites for supplies in a couple different states. Right now supplies can be brought to our warehouse in Cullman, AL. The address is 30 County Rd. 1184 Cullman, AL.

Also Nottingham Missionary Baptist Church is collecting supplies for us. Their address is 303 West Christine Rd. Nottingham, PA. Phone 610-932-5171

We will also have a drop off site in Bristol, VA. We are working now to determine that location.

Financial donations can be made online here at our website. Just go here.

Donations can also be mailed to:

Unsheltered International

PO Box 2625 Cullman, AL 35056

For our supply needs list visit here.

Again, thank you for your prayers and support.

 

Sandy Update #4    11/5/12   2:00 pm

I am amazed at how the Lord is providing for our disaster relief efforts in NY. We have collected a lot of supplies from many people and now have enough supplies to serve over 1000 meals as soon as we arrive on site.

We are very grateful for the many churches in the Bristol, VA area that have given many of the supplies we needed this weekend. Below is a picture of us loading up the trailer this afternoon.

The truck and trailer load of supplies that is coming from Alabama should arrive here in Bristol about 2 am this morning. Hopefully we can leave around 7 or 8 am headed for Staten Island.

Many people have called us about volunteer opportunities. We will know more about those opportunities in the next couple of days.

Again, thank you for your gifts and all of the support. We know that the Lord is going to do great things. Please remember to pray for everyone affected by these storms.

 

Sandy Update #3    11/4/12

We spent today loading our disaster response unit and trailer with as much equipment as possible. We have our big tent, generator, grills, food supplies and much more.

We will be leaving early tomorrow morning for Bristol, VA where we will be through the weekend. Then, early Monday morning we will be headed for Staten Island, NY to set up a relief center in conjunction with Pastor Michael King and Brighton Beach Baptist Church.

We expect to be there for a minimum of one week. We will stay as long as we are able to help run our relief center. We expect to collect and distribute goods to the community, cook and serve meals, and be there for spiritual and emotional support as well.

Donations for the work of Unsheltered International to support our efforts can be made online here.

Below is a letter from the Pastor we will be helping. In his letter he tells how that donations can be made directly to their church as well.

Letter from Pastor King- Click here

Visit this page for our updated needs list

Thank you for your generous support and your prayers. Please continue to pray for the families that were devastated by this storm.

 

Sandy Update #2   11/3/12

We have made contact with Pastor Mike King of Brighton Beach Baptist Church. He and his family live on Staten Island, NY and have suffered great loss. Both of their family cars are ruined and they have other damage as well.

They are a small congregation with many hurting families and community members. He has asked for our help. Their need is urgent.

Unsheltered International will be partnering with this church and setting up a relief center in Staten Island near the pastor’s house to help his community. We will have a truck with supplies leaving at noon Monday. We need to take a lot of donations with us.

We are asking for local people to bring donations to our warehouse at 30 County Road 1184 Cullman, AL now through Monday.

We will need a lot of financial support as well. Online donations can be made for this effort here.

Donations can also be mailed to us at: Unsheltered International PO Box 2625 Cullman, AL 35056

Volunteers will be needed to help set up and run the relief center. More details on that will be made available as they are ironed out.

The pastor needs a generator and there will be other large needs also. Follow this link for the basic donations we are asking for at this time.

Please share this with your friends on your social networks.

 

Sandy Update #1             

We are responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy by gathering supplies to be delivered next week. Right now we are working with some of our contacts in the north east now to determine where the supplies will be most needed.

Our truck will deliver the supplies to the area where we feel the Lord leads us. It could be New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, or any of the affected areas. This storm is so wide spread that there will be hundreds of needy areas.

We will be collecting disaster relief items now through next Monday at our warehouse that is located at Temple Baptist Church here in Cullman.

We will be renting a truck and leaving early next week.

Please bring supplies to our warehouse located at Temple Baptist Church 30 County Road 1184 Cullman, AL. You can drop off your donations at our warehouse behind the church.

Here is a partial list of items we are asking for:

Bottled water

Gallon water

Bleach

cleaning supplies

Buckets

Blankets

Tarps

Flashlights & batteries

Large cans of vegetables

Non-perishable food

Note: We will not be taking used clothing items

If you would like to make a financial donation, please visit our donation page here.

For more information please call Travis at 803-640-7021 or email at travis@unsheltered.org

  • A friend called and asked how she could get $ directly to the people who need it, and I told her send it through you, and she had me make a donation with her credit card to Unsheltered Intl. So thankful you folks are there for the disaster victims. Another friend wondered about the high rise apt, bldgs where there could be elderly and infirm people without electricity and the cannot leave their apts. Who will go to them? Who will climb the many stories and knock on the doors to locate the needy? I am praying about this.

    • Thank you so much for your prayers! We are trusting that God will supply the man power to enable us to go out and knock on doors! During the tornado’s in Alabama we were able to go door to door and bring well needed warm meals and supplies to those that could not leave home. We of course will put forth the same effort in NY. Please continue to pray that God will provide more than enough needed items to those without.