Eleven members from Hancock will drive to Atlantic City, New Jersey on Sunday April 28 to help get 20 families, primarily seniors on fixed incomes and disabled residents, back into their homes following Hurricane Sandy. It’s already been 3 months since their homes were devastated by the storm and their lives turned upside down. FEMA and insurance inspectors have come and gone, but money to do the work necessary for them to move back in has been slow in coming.

2013,3,27_AtlanticCityRehab1The Fuller Center for Housing has a Covenant Partner in Tabernacle, New Jersey. They rushed to assist these low income families and have managed to remediate many homes in the area. This involves tearing out everything that was touched by salt water or sand that could become covered in mold and make the home uninhabitable. You’ve seen the pictures on the news. Houses that look like skeletons; everything gone but the studs and outside sheathing. Neil Brown, president of the New Jersey Covenant Partner, estimates that each house will require about $12-15 thousand dollars in construction supplies to bring them back to livable condition. And FEMA only covers about 65-75% of those supplies. That doesn’t count labor costs which usually equal or exceed the cost of supplies.

The Fuller Center had planned for their annual national house-raising, called a Legacy Build, to be in the Camden county New Jersey area long before the storm hit, but they realized only days after the storm that they needed to change their focus to help the most vulnerable residents impacted by this destruction. They moved the date of their event from July up to April and began taking applications from families to have their home included in this project.

As you can imagine, changing the goal, the scope and the location of the Fuller Center annual Legacy Build has presented many challenges. Not only do they have less time to plan, but all the planning they had already done needed to be revised. In addition, many of their usual tenants don’t work in this situation. For instance, most families that receive a house or have a house worked on by the Fuller Center have to agree to put in “sweat equity”, working thousands of hours alongside the volunteers brought in. With this senior and disabled population, that is much harder to expect. And homes needing repair from the storm need much more work than the usual repairs they encounter, even on the homes that are in the worst shape.

As of this week, Neil is still working out many of the details for this project. He is busy recruiting his best volunteer foremen from around the country to converge on New Jersey this April. He is still reviewing and inspecting building to include in the project. There are still so many unknowns. But what he does know, is that to accomplish the complete repair of 20 homes by May 3 when all the volunteers go home, it will take many more volunteers and much more money than the New Jersey Covenant Partner had planned for their original Legacy Build in July. How will they possibly get the support that they need in two short months? They will get that support from people like you and me. How can you help? There are many ways:

  1. Come to New Jersey with us April 28-May 3 to work with hundreds of volunteers from around the country. No skills are necessary; just a willingness to learn and to work hard. If you have skills, all the better.
  2. For those who are not as able-bodied, there are administrative and go-for jobs like taking snacks to the work sites and getting tools and supplies for the workers.
  3. Working?–Find out if your place of work has a corporate program that allows you to volunteer for a non-profit organization on company time up to a certain limit.
  4. Many are unable to take time off work or away from children. Your individual donation can help fund the cost of supplies for a home.
  5. Talk about making a donation as a family, teaching your children that it is better to give than to receive. The donation could be instead of a party or special outing.
  6. Give a gift of a donation to the Fuller Center for a birthday, wedding, baby shower, or other special occasion.
  7. Give a gift in memory of a loved one who would have supported the Fuller Center values.
  8. Give a gift through your corporate matching gift program.
  9. Talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers about making a donation to the Fuller Center, New Jersey Covenant Partner.
  10. Talk to organizations such as service groups, schools, Boy and Girl Scouts, etc. about organizing a fund-raiser or giving funds previously raised to this special project.

The Fuller Center for Housing has faith. They have faith that individuals, religious organizations, businesses, non-profit organizations, communities, and foundations will step up to help them achieve their goal of providing decent housing for everyone. Your donation in any form or size will help them achieve that goal, bringing warmth and comfort to families that have suffered for too long with cold and indifference.

Donations can be made to the “Fuller Center for Housing, New Jersey Covenant Partner” directly to them at 7 Sohn Way, Tabernacle, NJ 80880 or through Hancock Church by simply writing “Fuller Center for Housing, NJ Covenant Partner” on the memo line of your check. You can also donate online via Hancock’s Giving page, then click on Donate Online Now, and specify the Fuller Center for your gift.

For questions, contact Cheryl Kraley at cheryl@kraley.com or Paul DiGiammarino at paul.digiammarino@gmail.com