Tuesday we began hearing from Regina, who is called "Volunteer Zero" because she was on board even before Sandy hit Bergen County. Though her house sustained 6 feet of water in the basement and she would be without power for 11 days, she was instrumental in moving many seniors and their pets into shelters that would take them (the Red Cross rules prohibit animals).
Then we were divided into two groups. One went back to the trailer while the other went to Little Ferry School to work on sprucing up the exterior that had recently been landscaped.
The work at the school entailed staining the decking using deck resurfacing.
At the trailer the roof was framed and sheathed. This entailed cutting pieces that could form a slightly pitched roof.
Inside, the floor needed to be removed so that new subflooring can be laid.
In the evening, the members of Rutherford Congregational UCC provided a meal of salad, lasagne, ham, bread and dessert.
Our Mission Team met with Marisa, the volunteer coordinator for Bergen County VOC. She informed us of how Superstorm Sandy impacted northern New Jersey--the storm surge came up the rivers, almost like a tsunami. Some places had major destruction, while others were almost untouched. Now in the post-Sandy time, many volunteers are helping out along the Jersey shore, but in northern NJ, only a relative handful are helping. So she expressed gratitude that we were willing to come to help those who have been often overlooked.
The job site to which we were assigned was a trailer in a mobile home park just across from Teeterboro Airport. The owner, Gary, explained to us that his trailer had about 18 inches of water in it. He has been waiting for 19 months for repairs, though he had already had the trailer lifted about 3 feet to the recommended height for future flooding.
We had two assignments: clean out the interior and remove the roofing. As the roofing was being removed it became clear that the entire roof was in need of being replaced, so much of our day was spent taking out everything above the walls.
At the end of the day, we gathered as we do every evening for vespers: a quiet time to reflect on the day. Then a good night's rest in preparation for our second day.
The Mission Team of Zion UCC lives out James's command to "be doers of the word, and not merely hearers."