Be a witness to the healing love of Christ by caring for communities who have been affected by a catastrophic event.
The Helping Hands Care team gathers volunteers to help rebuild in places touched by disaster. They are always looking for volunteers and new team members! Why don’t you join them on their next trip and become part of this family that is rebuilding homes and hope to those who have lost so much. You can contact the Presbytery office (610-391-9020, ) or Cynthia Hahn () for more information.
Carol Bennicoff, Charles Bennicoff, William Eves, Cynthia Hahn, Mike Jendzeizyk, Sandy Jenkins, Terry Jenkins, Gwen Johnson, Karen Jones, Kevin Kehoe, Rev. Dr. H. Richard McClain, June McCracken, and Harry Tachovsky.
HELPING HANDS UPDATE
The Helping Hands Team will be returning to New Bern, North Carolina in the Spring to continue the work they began in December. This area has been hard hit by storms and flooding over the past few years and there is a lot to be done.
The trip is scheduled for April 23-30, 2022 to New Bern, North Carolina. The team is seeking volunteers to participate in this mission work trip. As with the December trip, ALL volunteers must provide proof of receiving the COVID vaccine. The Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church, 2011 Old Cherry Point Road, New Bern, NC 28560 will be hosting our team. It is a fairly new facility with showers and bathrooms on site.
Cost of the trip is $200.00 for the week. Transportation to and from the site and meals while in North Carolina will be provided. Registration DEADLINE is March 18, 2022.
For questions or more information, please contact Cynthia Hahn, trip registrar [617-415-6013 or ]
Stay safe & well!
HELPING HANDS TALL TALES
On December 4-11, 2021, the Helping Hands volunteers went south to New Bern, North Carolina. They had a first timer and ten veterans with them. All were eager to get back into the fray again. This was their first time to New Bern so, as it is the way whenever they go to a new location, there is a learning curve. They learned a lot about the organization they would be working for and the site coordinator learned about the abilities of our volunteers for the jobs they had open. This happens every time they go to a new place.
They stayed at Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church in New Bern and the accommodations were GREAT!!! The bed were comfortable and there were plenty of showers with hot water!
This was a new facility and it hadn’t been used much. Kirsty Kulberg, the Village Manager, met with Kevin and Ed on Thursday and gave them the grand tour of their living quarters. The full contingent of Helping Hands volunteers would not be arriving until Saturday.
While they were looking over the shower rooms, Kristy noted that they should have put down tile in the stalls because the LVT (luxury vinyl tile) they put down was not held up well with all the water. Kevin offering to put down tile and made it one of the project for the week. The team purchased the supplies and replaced the flooring. Kristy and the church were so grateful for our help. This way as groups come and go the tile will hold up shower after shower.
The team broke into groups to work on various job sites. The largest group of volunteers were tasked with working on a trailer. They removed and replaced various pieces of sheetrock, taped and spackled, gutted a bathroom (saving the tube and fixtures to reuse), removed a subfloor, removed a kitchen wall and replace it with a 2×3 wall, removed and replaced various outlets and switches, installed new wiring to several new outlets, and organized and labeled all the circuits. They accomplished a lot, but there was more to be done. They ran out of time, but when another group comes in they can pick up were our volunteers left off.
Several other team members worked at the United Way office to remove a bathroom floor and also to organize the disaster recovery center warehouse. The third group worked on two houses. In the first house they hung several pieces of sheetrock, taped and spackled, fixed a lockset in a door, mounted a vent grate, installed a vanity, and hung a shower door. The women who lived in this house had been waiting almost two years for help.
In the second house, they removed and replaced various decking boards on a deck ramp, installed all new joists and subfloor in a 14’x20′ room installed insulation in the same, covered an opening in the exterior wall with plastic to protect the insulation and started to install LVT flooring.
It was a productive week and the team was happy to get back into the swing of things. There are still plenty of sites that need our help, including New Bern, and there is plenty more work to be done. The team is look forward to planning a spring mission work trip. If you are interested in supporting this work or would like to join them on their next trip, please do not hesitate to contact the Kevin Kehoe () or the Presbytery office (). No skills necessary, they will train you on site.
HELPING HANDS VOLUNTEERS HAD A FRUITFUL WEEK IN FAYETTEVILLE, NC
Helping Hands of Lehigh Presbytery volunteers to participated in a week long mission work trip to help repair homes in Fayetteville, NC on April 6-13, 2019.
This was their second trip to this area and there is was plenty of work done.
Here they are spackling the sheetrock.
Here they are loading the dumpster with debris from the work that is being accomplished.
Some are also working on putting on a new roof.
The happy smiles of the volunteers after a long day of work…..they were determined no matter what they would finish the roof and they did!
Would you be interested in part of the team? They are always looking for new members to help plan and coordinate the trips, as well as, new volunteers to join them on these mission work trip. It’s hard work but also a lot of joy that comes from helping others. You can talk to any of them and they will tell you the fun and fellowship they experience.
They will be planning another trip in the fall and would welcome your help!
Come join us by filling out the registration and skills form and sending it in to the Presbytery office. For more information see the Flyer below. Registration Deadline is March 18, 2019.
MISSION TRIP TO TREMONT, PA
Helping Hands is seeking volunteers for a three day mission trip to Tremont, PA to help repair the homes damaged by flooding.
On December 19, 2018 a small group of volunteers set out for Tremont, PA to help repair homes that were damaged by flooding. We wish to thank those volunteers who helped out on the 19th!
There was more work to be done and a larger group signed up for a three day trip to Tremont on January 17-19, 2019. As before, they carpooled from the Lehigh Presbytery lot, early on the morning of January 17th. Some volunteers went for the day and others were able to stay a day or two. The homeowners were pleased to have so many give of their time and talents to help them repair their home.
Helping Hands volunteers mission work trip to Fayetteville, NC.
October 20-27, 2018
The Helping Hands Care Team volunteers are on their way to Fayetteville, North Carolina to help in the recovery efforts after homes were damaged by Hurricane Matthew.
Volunteers stayed at the Highland Presbyterian Church, 111 Highland Avenue, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
They worked on five different homes. Two of the homes need to be mucked out….which is pushing the mud that accumulated in the home out and gutting the walls to the studs. Some of the subflooring needed to be replaced and the crawl spaces under the homes cleaned out. It is a dirty job, but they made short work of it. They also installed a new laminate flooring, put on a new roof, new flashing around a chimney, painting walls and woodwork, and much more.
It was a week of hard work, a lot of laughs, and fellowship with each other and the folks whose homes we worked on.
There are jobs for every skills level and we have great teachers on the team. Come join us on our next trip!
Second Mission Work Trip to Summerton, South Carolina
The Summerton, South Carolina community was damaged by flooding in 2015 and then again in 2016 by Hurricane Matthew. Strong winds and rain from the hurricane just added to the devastation caused by the previous year’s floods. The Summerton Presbyterian Church worked with the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Program to bring volunteers to their are to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts.
The Helping Hands Volunteers of Lehigh Presbytery were part of this effort and made their second trip to Summerton on April 14-21, 2018.
On this trip volunteers were tasked with working on two houses. A small group of volunteers made short work of their assignments on the first house and finished up on Monday. Later in the week a small group went back to clean up the house so the homeowners could move back in. A job well done!
The majority of the volunteers worked on the second house which had a more extensive list of tasks to complete. A few headed to the roof where they removed shingles on one half of the roof, replaced the plywood sheathing, installed new tar paper and shingles, and attached the aluminum flashing.
Another group of volunteers were inside the house where they removed a rotting sub-floor and one rotted floor joist in one room. They then installed a new floor joist and laid down a new sub-floor. What came next was to install underlayment and laminate flooring in a few rooms.
Others were busy removing and installing insulation and sheetrock in a room. They applied a coat of joint compound to the ceiling and wall and installed some freshly painted moldings. A new back stoop was constructed and installed with steps and railings.
After a long week of labors, the volunteers were able to have some down time to enjoy a pontoon boat ride around a swamp in the area. The swamp they toured was formed by damming the Santee River. The swamp is part of Lake Marion (which is named after the Swamp Fox of the Revolutionary War–Francis Marion). It was a beautiful sight to behold. There were large Cypress trees, alligators, cormorants, ospreys and many other interesting and often beautiful things.
The volunteers are grateful for the prayers and support from Lehigh Presbytery. They were able to accomplish a lot of work in a short amount of time. This was all made possible by your generous donations and the tireless time and dedication of our Helping Hands Care Team and Volunteers.
Wouldn’t you like to be part of this mission/ministry?
We invite you to become a member of the Helping Hands Care Team to help plan and coordinate these mission trips; or join us as a volunteer by sharing your time and talents; or you can help by sending a donation to further this mission to help those in need!
If you feel you don’t have the skills to volunteer, you may be wrong…..we have members on the team that can teach you the skills you need. It is not as hard as you think!
You generous donations go a long way to give our “helping hands” the ability to reach out to others in need. They have met so many people and have given them renewed hope. Thank you!
Helping Hands in South Carolina
SUMMERTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – October 18-25, 2017
The Helping Hands volunteers left the Lehigh Valley with 24 pairs of eager hands that were looking forward to helping the folks in the Summerton area. This time they would work on five different projects during the week of October 18-25, 2017. The first project was a house that they worked on this past Spring. There were unable to complete the work last Spring due to circumstances beyond their control. On the list for this home was a new laminate floor in the kitchen along with some baseboard molding. The homeowner was very happy to welcome the group back. This job took several days to complete…. a stove, water heater, and a refrigerator had to be moved several times to get the job done.
Once the floor and molding was in, the team was off to their second project. There were broken steps that needed replacement. They first removed the old steps and then replaced them with a new set of stairs and railings. After they built the stairs, they attached them to the house and then dug the holes to mount the railings. This house was scheduled to be gutted the next week, so by replacing the stairs the workers next week would have an easier time getting the job done. Not to mention how much safer it was to move materials in and out of the house.
The third job was to affix a giant tarp over the roof on one half of a house. This house was truly hurting. There was significant structural damage on the inside…. a beam, floors, ceilings, trusses, and roof needed attention. The tarp was only the beginning for this house.
Now onto the Manse where the volunteers were housed. Seven volunteers fixed several screen doors and replaced a piece of screening on the back porch. There were cracks in the walls to be repaired and a new coat of paint in the foyer and dining room needed. They got to work by removing the crown moldings, hanging twelve sheets of sheetrock, taping and mudding the seams and screw holes, re-installing the molding, then priming and painting the walls and moldings. Unfortunately time ran out and the job was not finished by the time they had to leave. The walls were still in need of a second coat of paint and the crown moldings needed the nails holes filled and then primed and painted. The men from the Summerton Presbyterian Church were tasked with finishing the job.
The last worksite utilized most of the volunteers. There were two teams on this house, one from Helpings Hands and a group from Michigan. The Helping Hands team were on the roof and removed two sets of shingles, fixed the underlayment, replaced the facia and soffit on the front of the house, installed a beam under the front porch, and put on a metal roof. The Michigan Team worked on the inside of the house. There were a lot people working on one house and at times it seemed they were in each other’s way but worked through it. On the first day, the Helping Hands team managed to remove all the shingles but then the rain started and they needed to secure a tarp over the roof. They were not quick enough and the rain caused ceilings inside to pull loose in some areas. The Michigan Team made short work of that and made the needed repairs on the ceilings. In the end, Helping Hands was able to complete their assigned projects on this house along with cleaning up the yard, trimming the buses, painting the porch posts, beams, facia, and shutters.
The people of Summerton were very warm and welcoming — there is nothing like Southern hospitality! The manse where the Helping Hands team stayed is reported to be the oldest home in that town. It has a wide front porch (the length of the house) and was a pleasure to sit on it. They had a great trip with plenty of work and were able to help out four families. They are looking forward to their next trip!
SUMTER, SOUTH CAROLINA – March 19-25, 2017
Helping Hands volunteers went south again in March but not to Georgetown, SC. They went farther in-land to Sumter, SC. Several volunteers left on Thursday, March 16, 2017, to check the housing, work sites and the lay of the land. On this trip they bounced between two churches; First Presbyterian Church of Sumter, SC for the meals and Trinity Methodist Church, Sumter, SC for the overnight accommodations. It seems that every place has different organizations to work for. This time we worked for a Long Term Recovery Group based with The United Way.
On Friday, they met Joe Davies, a medically discharged vet, to look at the work sites. He works for the United Way as the Volunteer coordinator. He showed them four houses they would be working on.
House 1: This was a trailer. The Helping Hands volunteers removed the old skirting (this is material that covers the opening under the trailer itself) and replaced it with new skirting. Mean while placing the new on the same horizontal plane around the perimeter of the trailer. The original was on several different planes. This is the only job that was totally completed and it looked great.
House 2: This was 10 – 12 miles farther down the road from # 1. This house had several problems. In South Carolina, many houses are built on piers without much of footer because there isn’t much frost there. The problem is the way this house sits on the lot, the water drainage after several storms made both sides of the house to settle leaving the center beam at its original height. To level the house is way above the Helping Hands volunteers pay grade and experience, let alone the lack of equipment. What they could do for the home owner was to put down underlayment on the kitchen floor, and install new vinyl sheet goods. So they moved appliances, disconnected the water heater and installed new underlayment, filled in the seams and retuned all the appliances. They weren’t able to install the vinyl as it did not arrive while they were there. But, the home owners are on their way to getting fixed up. One just has to have faith that there are others coming to help after we leave for home.
House 3: This trailer was much closer to town. There was a long work list for this one. They removed some of the Sanitest from the bathroom walls. It had an 8′ x 20’ rear deck that was scary to walk on so they ripped it down and rebuilt it. The front stoop had to go also, it was rebuilt. This work took us a little over 2 days to complete. They didn’t get to finish the rest of work list.
House 4: This house was the farthest from us. A group worked there all week. This was primarily a trim painting job. They scraped, glazed windows, caulked where it was needed, primed and painted. Several also removed a built-on awning from the front porch. Several also tried to repair the porch fascia and parts of the roof.
The volunteers were treated like royalty. The accommodations were fine and the food was great. Every a.m. we had breakfast at Shoney’s. The owner is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Sumter, SC and feeds all the groups that come and work for free. Good work and great people.
Helping Hands is always looking for new folks to join them on these adventures. You don’t need to know how to do this kind of work, we have folks that can teach you. We laugh a lot, see different parts of our country, meet many new and interesting folks and we accomplish much work.
Come join us!
A Successful second trip to Georgetown, SC
Three Helping Hands volunteers left early on Thursday, October 13, 2016 to scout out the work sites in Georgetown and plan the work load for the week. The ride from Allentown, PA to Georgetown, SC lasted 13-1/2 hours due to the many roads that were washed out or flooded by Hurricane Matthew the previous Saturday.
On Friday, October 14, 2016, the team assessed the work needed on three different houses and trailers. Two needed roofs, the third, and the one that Helping Hands would work on, needed a handicap ramp. As they walked around the house/trailer, they noticed that the roof was in need of repairs. Rafter tails were rotted, as well as the fascia and soffits. What they couldn’t see, left much to the imagination and they planned for the worst.
On Saturday, two of them went downtown to visit the Wooden Boat Show festival that was going on in Georgetown. There was a boat building contest with ten teams of two people building 10 ft rowing Skiffs.
They had 4 hours to complete them. One team had the fastest time and finished their boat in 1 hour 34 minutes and 40 seconds. The teams then had to row their boats across the river to the island. It was fascinating to watch.
The bulk of the Helping Hands volunteers left on Saturday, October 15 from Allentown, PA and arrived at the church in Georgetown at 9:30 p.m. after a 15-1/2 hour trip by van.
On Sunday, October 16, 2016, seven volunteers were dispatched to Deanne’s house. (She is the Regional PDA coordinator.) A very large branch had fallen from the tree in her yard during the storm. The volunteers were tasked with cutting it up into manageable pieces and hauling it to the curb. The branch was about 14” in diameter and it took about 3 hours to complete the job. When the team returned to the church they had some down time to do what ever they wanted…..read, visit the boat show, or visit one of the many State Parks.
For Monday thru Friday, the volunteers were broken up into two teams. One on roof repairs, the other on constructing a deck and ramp.
The roof required much dismantling and the removal of the old shingles, various pieces of roof sheathing and all of the fascia. Many of the rafters needed repairs too. The team worked hard and finished the roof on Friday morning.
The team constructing the ramp, first removed the steps from the deck and then built a new 5’x6’ deck from which the ramp would be built. The ramp would eventually be 28’ long. The team dug holes for posts at prescribe locations, placed posts and filled holes with concrete. Decking, along with railings, was added to the ramp. They also replaced the old deck stairs at a rear entrance to the house.
On Tuesday and Wednesday several volunteers went to the home they worked on during their spring trip to do some painting and mudding. It was great to hook up with old friends at the Jerusalem Center.
The Georgetown, SC area is still in the need of help. It will be interesting to see where their spring trip will take them. That chapter will be decided at their November meeting. Stay tuned!!!
Ps. Why don’t you think about joining them next time. They laugh a lot, learn new skills, and bring hope and joy to those who have lost so much. They’d love to have you come along. You will see that YOU gain more than you give.
If you can’t join them on a trip, there are other ways to help…
- contribute to help purchase the materials needed to rebuild homes that are damaged. Donations can be sent to Lehigh Presbytery, 710 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., Allentown, PA 18104. Please mark Helping Hands in the memo line;
- be on the Helping Hands Care Team and lend your talents to help plan these mission work trips. Please call 610-391-9020 or email the presbytery office and we will give you more information or put you in contact with the planning team;
- praying for those affected by disasters and the volunteers who give of themselves to help rebuild these homes and give them hope.
Helping Hands in Georgetown, South Carolina
A group of 26 Helping Hands volunteers traveled to Georgetown, South Carolina on Saturday, April 2, 2016. It was a grueling, 12 hour day of travel down I- 95 but we made it with no traffic backups!
Our lodging was at the Georgetown Presbyterian Church’s Youth House which was a lovely building newly renovated. Since we traveled on Saturday, we were able to have some down time on Sunday. Many of us went to church in the morning, which is right next door to the Youth House. In the afternoon, some folks visited Charleston while others went to the beach at Pawley’s Island and the Huntington Beach State Park. The downtime allowed us to rest up before the week’s work.
Monday brought us to Andrews, SC where we worked on an old school called the Jerusalem Center. The school was originally the segregated school for Andrews. When desegregation took place around 1971, the school became an integrated middle school. It closed 15 years ago and is now owned by 39 churches of Missionary Alliance Baptist. Future plans are to restore it to serve the families and youth of their churches and communities. It will also be a shelter if a flood ever occurs again.
We had great fun and worked hard together. The leaders of the Jerusalem Center were amazed at what we accomplished. During the week, we were able to remove the old carpet, scrape off floor tiles, removed old putty from the windows and replaced broken panes, cut back overgrown shrubbery, power washed exterior and interior walls, painted 2 classrooms, dug a 45 foot trench to solve a drainage problem, set studs for dry walling the ceiling, sided parts of and repaired the roof. We really worked hard every day!!
Our work week ended too quickly on Friday, April 8th. The leaders of Jerusalem Center invited us back any time and it’s possible that we may go back to Georgetown in the fall.
Tired but happy, we departed for home on Saturday, April 9th. The trip home was uneventful until we hit the snow in Maryland! We were ready to return to South Carolina for warmer weather!
If you would like to participate in their next trip in the fall, watch for details in upcoming newsletters or the website. If you are unable to physically help on a trip, they are always looking for new members to the Helping Hands Care Team to plan upcoming trips. Please contact the Presbytery office for their next meeting and help out!
Point Pleasant Beach – Helping Hands Trip, October 2015
On October 4-9, 2015 a team of 19 Helping Hands volunteers visited the Jersey Shore to continue rebuilding efforts from the damage of Hurricane Sandy. This week it will be three years since the storm hit and many have not returned to their homes.
We felt much of their frustration talking to homeowners and relief organizations. On the eve of our trip, anxiety was really up as Hurricane Joaquin was potentially headed towards the east coast and many rushed to prepare with sandbags, boarding up of shops, etc. Thankfully, damage was minimal and we only saw minor beach erosion and some coastal flooding.
Our teams supported “A Future of Hope”, a Methodist relief organization. We assisted moving materials from their north location in Highlands New Jersey to the Atlantic City area, where most remaining rebuilding is required. Another team painted the entire interior of a home in Keansburg, NJ in just two days. This home is almost ready for them to move in after being elevated and completely rebuilt.
A team was dispatched to Tuckerton, NJ to spread 20 tons of crushed stone under a rebuilt elevated home also close to completion. With only two wheel barrows and mostly senior citizen workers, this was completed in one day.
Another team visited two homes in Atlantic City to paint the outside of a twin rebuilt home and to move furniture and help an elderly homeowner hang her precious Last Supper painting over her newly refurbished dining room. Eldora was a sweet lady in her 70’s with 26 grandchildren. She lives only three blocks from the boardwalk and high rise casinos…..quite a contrast from the humble row homes that Eldora and others live in.
Several of our team members worked on Brenda’s home only about a mile from the Point Pleasant Presbyterian church where we were housed. Brenda is a single parent of a 10 year old boy who lost her business, a small printing and fax service as well as the damage to her home from flooding. Although she had some flood insurance, it was far from adequate for the cost of elevating her home and rebuilding the flood damage. Brenda and her son are living in the garage until the house is completed. We assisted Brenda with some framing inspection preparation, insulation and began installing new drywall on her ceilings. Brenda’s home has received much attention from volunteers of Lend-A-Hand, the volunteer team from Carlisle Presbytery.
During our week in New Jersey we experienced frustration with the distance required between work sites and hoping for higher skilled work that we are used to. On the positive side, our team had a wonderful stay at the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church with some of the nicest weather of any trip to date. We were able to see a large portion of the Jersey Shore and visited Sandy Hook and many shore towns. We had a wonderful mix of seasoned and new volunteers that created some great friendships that will last for years. Thanks to all who support our efforts!
We wish to thank all those who volunteered and worked so hard last week as well as all those who have donated to this worth cause.
The Helping Hands trip to Jamaica on April 12-18, 2015 was a huge success!
As in the past the Helping Hands volunteers stayed at the First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica, New York; but they had a change in venues as far as work was concerned.
On this trip they worked through Umcor (United Methodist) volunteer outreach. They found themselves working in two different sections of Brooklyn, Canarsie and Sheepshead Bay. They shared their talents with three different houses.
- The First house was a row home. The family consisted of a Mom, Dad and five children who hadn’t had any help to make the repairs since Hurricane Sandy damaged their home. The Helping Hands volunteers were able to gut the first floor bathroom down to the joists and made some plumbing upgrades; tore down the plaster and insulation of three ceilings and four walls; and removed the cabinets in two kitchens. During this demolition, they ended the day covered in cellulose insulation. But as the week progressed, they turned the corner and were able to frame and insulate four walls; sheet rock three walls, one ceiling and various places that had been removed due to water damaged. Fortunately, there was another skilled group coming in the following week and if the plumbing gets finished, they would be able to finish the painting and trim work. Then the family would be well on their way to moving back in.
- The second house had a single mom. The Helping Hands volunteers removed a large dropped ceiling and several walls. They reframed the walls to create a new floor plan. They insulated and drywalled the front and rear walls. They also rearranged the bathroom walls to make it larger. This was the first help that she had received. Hopefully more volunteers will lend some additional help in the coming weeks.
- The third house Helping Hands volunteers worked on was that of a Viet Nam Vet with some disabilities. His house was a complete rebuild. They had four volunteers working three and a half days. Two laid hardwood flooring in one bedroom and then prepared another bedroom. Two other Helping Hands volunteers thin set and screwed down cement backer board in the kitchen. They laid and cut the tile and then thin set it in place. Hopefully there’ll be another group to finish the work started and grout the floor in the following weeks.
Some notable happenings on this trip; there were four new people along with the minister (a member of Helping Hands who had been called to PDA gatherings at the time of their other trips). It was great to have new faces and to have him back with us. The Magical disappearing van managed not to disappear and DD was not in the vocabulary every day, even though it tried very hard to be.
All who went had a great time and laughed much. Helping Hands is planning their next trip for the end of September-beginning of October and are looking to return to Point Pleasant, NJ. But the destination may change.
They are always looking for a few good people; young or old, handy or not, that want to challenge their boundaries and who like to laugh to join them. For more information, contact the Presbytery office or visit the website at https://lehighpresbytery.org/our-faith-community/care-teams/helping-hands/
Highlights from the Jamaica, NY Mission Trip, September 28 – October 4, 2014
Helping Hands volunteers completed another mission work trip to Jamaica, New York (Sandy Relief).
On the last Sunday in September, twelve sets of willing hands left from the parking lot of First Presbyterian Church of Allentown to brave the streets of New York City as they headed off to the First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica. This group of dedicated volunteers have become an extended family because of the many mission work trips they have taken together to help rebuild homes and bring hope to those affected by a disaster such as Super Storm Sandy. Along with the hard work there is a lot of love and laughter.
After travelling about 45 minutes from Allentown, they stopped for a much needed coffee break which was the first of many that week. They would find that all these coffee breaks would pose a problem for some later in the week due to the fact that several folks seemed to forget where the van was parked after returning from getting their morning brew.
Their arrival in Jamaica was anything but ordinary. They arrived at the church, which would be their home for the week, in grand style as they pulled up in the middle of a wedding. One of our volunteers was invited to sit inside the Rolls Royce. The phones came out and pictures were snapped. Now her mug shot is all over the internet!
During this trip they worked with the Friends of Rockaway, one of several organizations running work camps in the area. On Monday morning they were off to an orientation meeting at the warehouse in Rockaway Beach. (You think that Route 22 in Pennsylvania is bad in the A.M., think again! The traffic is unbelievable.) It was here that they were given their work orders, names of site leaders and the lists of jobs to be done. Over the next week they would work on three different houses and started off by splitting into two groups.
The first house was located in Breezy Point, a gated beach town. Our Helping Hands volunteers had worked on this house on their spring trip. On this trip, the front patio roof was dangling in the breeze so they installed new footers and posts, stabilized the attachment points to the house, frame enclosed the gable end, installed nailers for ceiling soffit, and installed rafter ties. Inside the house, they framed rough openings for six windows, made window jams, and installed the windows. They also, framed one bedroom doorway and enclosed the same, made a new doorway in a different wall, made door jams for three doorways, and did some insulation.
The second house was located in Rockaway Beach. Here the volunteers removed the installed laminate flooring, saving as much as they could and then re-install the same. It was a slow and tedious job. By the end of the week they had completed several rooms.
For the third house, several volunteers from the previous group split off for one day to install a counter top. After much leveling and fitting they managed to attach it and still get home in time to dandy themselves up to go out for dinner.
On their trips to Jamaica and Point Pleasant, the Helping Hands volunteers had the opportunity to work with many young people from Americorp. These young folks came from all over the country. They were hard working, responsible, and always a pleasure to be with. Our hats go off to them.
The Helping Hands volunteers had a great trip and much work was completed in order to get families closer to being back in their homes. They met many new folks, they still have all their digits, they’ve seen a different part of the country and had many, many laughs!!!!
They are always looking for volunteers and new team members! Why don’t you join them on their next trip and become part of this family that is rebuilding homes and hope to those who have lost so much. You can contact the Presbytery office (610-391-9020, ) or Sandy Jenkins (610-298-2106, )
Highlights from the April 2014 Work Trip to Jamaica, New York
Our group worked through an organization called The Friends of Rockaway. The Friends of Rockaway was established to help the residents of the Rockaways wade through the insurance and rebuilding processes. They also match the needs of homeowners to the skills of volunteers offering their help. All twelve Helping Hands volunteers worked on the same single house in Breezy Point, NY.
This was the area where over 100 homes were lost to fire resulting from Super Storm Sandy. Our house was not a victim of the fire but of the flood waters.
Our team finished the drywall that was started, spackled two coats, fixed the opening to the attic, insulated in the attic and under the house, finished off the bathroom, and demolished one half of the deck in the back of the house. The team surprised the supervisor from Friends of Rockaway by doing a LOT more than he expected. We were proof that God uses any one of us to achieve His purposes!!
This trip had its challenges with traffic, parking, and GPS skills but the need was and continues to be great. Helping Hands will return to Jamaica this fall going from September 28 – October 4, 2014. We encourage anyone who is moved to help to join us.
Highlights from the October Work Trip to the Jersey Shore
The Helping Hands Care Team volunteers participated in a mission work trip to Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ to help rebuild after Hurricane Sandy damaged many homes and churches in that area.
The trip took place October 6-12, 2013. They worked on 5 different houses.
House #1 – was the largest job and included removing siding, fixing some of the sheathing underneath the siding, repairing small areas on the roof, removing bricks, hanging interior doors, installing all the casing and baseboard moldings, and hanging vinyl siding. The homeowner will be able to move back in at the end of the month!
Houses #2 & 3 – they removed floors.
House #4 – they painted the interior of the house
House #5 -was a trailer. They installed steps and railings on a small deck along with some painting on the inside.
The Lehigh team of volunteers were joined this week by a team of volunteers from Ann Arbor, Michigan. They had worked with this team twice in Nashville, TN and had made some lasting friendships. It was an added joy to see them, renew friendships and share good times.
It was a great trip!
They stayed at the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church, Bay and Forman Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ and are grateful for their hospitality.
If you missed out on this trip, the Helping Hands Care Team is planning several in 2014. Watch for details as they become available.
If you cannot participate but would like to help finance these work trips or others like it, please send your donation to Lehigh Presbytery, 710 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., Allentown, PA 18104 and write “Helping Hands” in the memo of the check.
Al (from Ann Arbor, MI team) and Megan Carrier (from Lehigh Helping Hands team)
Walt Cramer (from Lehigh Helping Hands team)
Rosemary Collins (from Ann Arbor, MI team), June McCracken, Sandy Jenkins, Deb Repsher (from Lehigh Helping Hands team), and Eileen (from Ann Arbor, MI team)
Short Notice Response Team
A list is being put together of Helping Hands’ volunteers who would be willing to respond to a disaster on short notice. Please indicate your willingness by emailing your name & phone number to Terry & Sandy Jenkins (.