327 Volunteers bring tears and joy to Sandy victims in Ocean County, NJ

On January 19th and 20th HOPE worldwide volunteers from Central Jersey, with over 100 visitors, cleaned, gutted, repaired and moved appliances in 40 homes and two children friendly locations.

Most of the homeowners were seniors who more than two months after the storms still have not been able to clean up and some are living in moldy homes without heat or water. Many of the seniors were widows and some had disabled and sick spouses. The emotional damage was heart breaking as people told us their stories. Kelly Baldwin, who together with her husband Keith lead this event, shed a lot of tears on the phone with the homeowners as she called each of them to find out exactly what they needed. One man whose wife was disabled asked if someone could just give him a hug. Another family uses a ladder to live in their unfinished attic because the first floor is so damaged. One family could not get in their front door because of all the sand against it which we helped remove.

Each situation made us grateful for what we have and seeing the volunteers pour out their hearts in helping out the victims was awe inspiring. People were thanking and praising God for providing angels in blue to help them out. They were overwhelmed as many tried to pay us and we told them that we were just grateful they gave us the opportunity to serve them. They could not thank us enough and were in disbelief that so many came to help and refused any money.

We had a group of young children, who have started a group called HOPE Scouts, bake cookies and deliver them to each of the homeowners we were helping. There were very few dry eyes when they showed up with their warm smiles and cookies.

Two high schools in the area sent us volunteers as did Clean Ocean Action, Hope and Healing, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Presidents Inaugural Committee and Allstate Insurance. Operation Brick Food Relief (OBFR), who feeds supper daily to victims, offered us their building as the headquarters for the two days and as a place to provide all our volunteers with a catered lunch both days. OBFR and Hope and Healing helped us by canvassing the area for weeks before events for houses to help and will continue to be our partners as we continue in the cleanup and rebuilding process.We have visitors and victims asking us when are we going back because they want to join us in our work.
This event has resulted in over 2700 volunteer hours in addition to those donated over a four week planning period, and we are not done yet. The Newark Star Ledger, NJ's main newspaper, ran stories on HOPE worldwide on two separate days and we hope that will help us get more volunteers and support for the long journey ahead. We still need a lot of financial support. Donations can be sent to HOPE worldwide earmarked NJ Sandy Relief. We will be updating the efforts on Hope4jersey.org , the site prepared for this event and Sandy Relief.

Horacio Piccininno,
Hopeww Chapter Director


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Horacio Piccininno, Advisory Board Chairman
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(732) 610-0000
Arthur Shirley, Advisory Board
Ishmael Cartegena, Advisory Board
Robert Jones, Advisory Board
Johnny Rivera, Advisory Board
Simone Bell, Director
Hilda Roman, Hope Scouts