In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastating path, humanitarian agency Church World Service has said its initial response is targeting those in immediate need in New Jersey and, in the Caribbean, in Cuba. An expansion of the agency’s responses is anticipated, as CWS assesses immediate and projected long-term recovery needs, in tandem with partners.
At the request of the New Jersey Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NJ VOAD), CWS will ship the following items this week to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey as part of its emergency response in New Jersey: 2,000 CWS blankets, 3,000 school kits, 3,000 CWS hygiene kits, 300 clean-up buckets and 100 CWS baby layette kits.
The initial shipment and other likely shipments due to Hurricane Sandy’s mounting toll will require CWS to restock its supply of emergency relief items. According to CWS Director of Development and Humanitarian Assistance Donna Derr, the agency is particularly concerned with restocking its supply of CWS blankets.
Derr encouraged immediate cash donations to help expedite restocking those relief materials – as well as cash donations for CWS’ wider immediate and long-term recovery response in the U.S. and in the Caribbean.
Prior to the epic storm’s landfall Monday evening (Oct. 29) in New Jersey, CWS shipped 3,300 CWS Blankets, 9,000 CWS Hygiene Kits, 1,125 CWS Baby Care Kits and 1,500 CWS School Kits to Cuba in response to Sandy’s destruction there.
CWS continues to work with its longtime partner the Cuban Council of Churches in monitoring ongoing needs in Cuba. In Haiti, where CWS has worked since 1954, the agency is now also assessing needs for response to the most vulnerable affected by Sandy’s destruction there.
The mammoth storm has left a trail of destruction, floods and power outages for millions of people across the northeast United States.
CWS’ Derr reminds Americans, “During disaster such as this now is the time to remember that the most important humanitarian donation that an individual can make is cash.
“There are already reports of heaps of used clothing piling up,” she said. “Clothing and other materials do little to restore the dignity of survivors.”
Editor’s note: Church World Service is part of the ACT Alliance, a global disaster response organization based in Geneva. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partners with both organizations through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. To contribute to Hurricane Sandy relief, click here.― Jerry L. Van Marter