As the Hurricane Sandy recovery continues, the Serve.gov blog will highlight some of the best stories from the field. Today we have a personal reflection from AmeriCorps NCCC member Nicole Wojcik, who is serving with team Delta 10 and staffing a donation hotline in New Jersey.
“As I finally get a chance to sit down, catch my breath, and really think about these past few weeks, I am drawn to several realizations. I joined NCCC because I wanted the opportunity to help people when they were completely overwhelmed or powerless to help themselves. As the projects and months in NCCC raced by, I realized that people can become discouraged, overwhelmed, and powerless in so many situations – not just large-scale natural disasters.
“But there is something so unique about disasters. Rich, middle class, poor, and desperate – there is no tempering of the storm's wrath. In that moment, in the hush before the roar, everyone faces the same storm. The relief of survival, the pain of loss, the utter helplessness of having no idea of where to even begin – draws people together instead of driving them apart. People are made aware of the needs of those around them, and that awareness transfers itself into remarkable action.
“As I enter my last month in NCCC, I have the opportunity to help people during a time of their deepest need and witness others doing the same. Hurricane Sandy is my last service opportunity with NCCC and what a way to end! From setting up and staffing child friendly spaces in shelters to receiving phone calls from people all across the country offering assistance to the hurricane survivors in New Jersey, I have heard the stories of hope. I joined NCCC to help others and have been helped myself.”
The work continues as the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts transition to the recovery phase. Approximately 1,300 national service members have participated with 1,000 still on the ground providing services to those in need. Read on for more stories from around the nation.
FEMA Officials Praise Hoopa Service Teams
Two Rivers Tribune (California), Nov. 27, 2012
Hoopa AmeriCorps and Tribal Civilian Community Corps (TCCC) members were praised by U.S. government officials for their hard work and dedication as part of the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New York.
Area Students Help After Sandy
Sentinel Source (New Hampshire), Nov. 24, 2012
Meghan Benzel — an alumna of Landmark College and a current AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer there — organized the service program and attended, along with Landmark's assistant director of campus security. ... “A lot of us felt we needed to do something. We got there, and it was shocking. Tiring. Exciting. Hard. Heartbreaking. But we did so much good in two days,” said Benzel.
Volunteers are in High Spirits as Cleanup in Hoboken Continues
The Jersey Journal (New Jersey), Nov. 24, 2012
From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., volunteers split into groups of three and cleaned-up debris from Observer Highway to 4th Street and from Marshall to Grand Streets, Ringer said, adding, each team was led by an AmeriCorps member ...
AmeriCorps Cape Cod Helps Clean Up Lady Liberty
The Barnstable Patriot (Massachusetts), November 22, 2012
Six members of AmeriCorps Cape Cod arrived at Liberty and Ellis Islands earlier this month to help the National Park Service clean up the "wretched refuse" left behind by Super storm Sandy. They were part of the 13-member response team dispatched by the National Seashore.