I’m writing to share with you how Hurricane Sandy has impacted our church and convey the financial challenges the storm had brought us. Also to thank you for partnering financially in helping us meet our tremendous need of $200,000.
The first question asked has been, “Did you have insurance?” We were led to believe we were covered and we were directed by our broker to immediately secure the services of a restoration company. Service Master removed drywall, dried the building and treated the structure for mold. The bill of $167,000 was submitted and our insurance company refused payment stating Hurricane Sandy was not a hurricane but a “storm surge”. After negotiations this bill has been reduced to $85,000 which was to be paid in full by May 17, 2013.
Salt water is corrosive and brings extensive damage to everything it touches. Damages brought on by the storm include:
• Parking Lot sustained 4 Feet of water submerging many cars, church van and church bus.
Main floor flooded by 1 Foot of water including the Sanctuary, Foyer, Multi-Purpose Room,
Music Dept. Office, Kitchen, Bathrooms, Nursery, Classrooms, Library, Utility and
Storage rooms. • Furniture, Equipment and Teaching Supplies destroyed by water damage. • Church Parsonage flooded with 1 Foot of water when the ocean and bay met. The first floor
Living Space, Bedrooms, Laundry Room and Garage.
Immediately following the storm, churches responded to our aid from New York and beyond. Friends from Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania brought work teams from their churches to help restore our buildings. We received responses from Assembly of God Churches and Districts. One church, in Ohio, heard of the hurricane and just randomly called our office. It was someone who helped in her Sunday School Department. She had the idea to collect gift cards containing $50 - $100 from any store from her Adult Sunday School class. She was excited with the response she received. Weekly, people would approach her and hand her gift cards. Once she collected a large amount, she placed them in the mail specifying they were to be given to families effected by the storm. When we received these cards, we divided them up equally and distributed them to the families in our church body who had received extensive damage to their homes. Each family was so grateful to be able to replace items damaged. One church from upstate New York filled a moving truck with water, diapers, food, clothing, housewares and bleach as well as a large envelope filled with money and gift cards for families effected in our church body. These gift cards and monies were distributed in the similar fashion. Week after week envelopes were handed to families with gift cards or cash to be used for their needs. Many who were not able to come provided monetary gifts to help in this effort; We are extremely humbled and grateful to these friends.
In late November of 2012 we partnered with Samaritan’s Purse, a disaster relief organization headed by Franklin Graham. They began to use our church building as a home base in housing and feeding 100’s of volunteers who came from all over the USA. These volunteers went into our community and surrounding areas cleaning and gutting resident’s water soaked homes. In exchange, they would help us to rebuild our damaged building. Along with the volunteers, Billy Graham Association Chaplains were on site, ministering to each of the families who where helped by Samaritan’s Purse. They ministered to 485 families and
led 138 people to a new relationship with Christ. These families had become our new mission.
As a church impacted by “Sandy” we recovered and faced many challenges. In spite of these challenges the Lord has done many great things! We celebrated our Rededication Service on a Sunday in April of 2015. It was a time of excitement and praise as we joined the leadership team of Samaritan's Purse and those effected by "Sandy" as they shared their experience and appreciation for all the provision for their homes, lives and church. We are humbled by the tremendous outpouring of generosity from so many. Your reward is in heaven!
To see photos, visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/fgcip
Thank you for your kind consideration and generosity.