Over the long Memorial Day weekend, a great group of young men and women from Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Cambridge MA came to New York City to help Ascension Church in Forest Hills with continuing Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

Unfortunately, there is a misconception that New York City has fully recovered from the hurricane.  As you will see in the following pictures and video, this is far from being true.  The church and home that we worked on are representative of hundreds, if not thousands, of similar homes and buildings that have not been repaired yet. From the outside, everything looks fine, but the inside tells another story.

We hope you will enjoy this blog post.  If you would like to come help us in our work in helping in the recovery efforts, please let us know.

Click on the above photo to see a video of the team from Cambridge MA working alongside members of Ascension Church in Forest Hills and residents of Broad Channel.

Don’t miss looking at the great photos below after  watching the video!!!!
(thanks to Tyler Holley & Greg Howard for contributing many of these photos)

000 01-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crew

The skyline of NYC seen from the shoreline of Jamaica Bay in Broad Channel.

000 02-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewAs can be seen here, there are still many houses in Broad Channel that need repair.

000 03-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewI think the one on the right might be too big a project for our team!

000 04-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThe team from Cambridge MA with David and Pastor Stephen

The following photos show the team helping repair Christ Presbyterian Church by the Sea in Broad Channel.

000 05-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewGetting suited up in protective gear — disposable coveralls, respirators, goggles, and gloves.

000 07-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewPaul, one of the Cambridge group’s leaders, was easily recognizable by his glasses.  All the rest were identified by their shoes.

000 08-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewFew know that Paul is thinking about auditioning for the role of Bane in the next Batman movie

000 09-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewAlexandra, the daughter of Ascension Church’s pastor and wife, Michael and Roseann Kytka, is going to make a good astronaut some day, isn’t she!

000 10-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewNo, this is not Alexandra’s mother, but they do look alike don’t they!  It’s Cindy, for those of you who couldn’t recognize her behind the mask.

000 11-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewNo, this isn’t Alexandra’s sister either, except in the Lord.  This is Kim, one of the leaders of the youth ministry team at Ascension.

000 12-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewHere’s the team’s first project, wiping down and demolding the church pews.

000 13-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewSo, “What do we do?” Sarah from Cambridge MA asks.

000 14-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewFirst, you grab hold of a pew, …

000 16-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewflip it over …

000 15-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewbalance it on some folding chairs …

000 17-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewand start cleaning with a solution of Borax, dishwashing soap, and water.

000 18-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThey also cleaned and demolded furnishings for the church’s altar.

000 19-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThe next project was installing new fiberglass insulation in the interior walls of the church.

000 20-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewHere’s Kim starting on one small section of the wall.

000 21-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThe hanging flexible conduit is courtesy of Pastor Stephen accidentally dropping the lights on everybody’s heads when he was removing some copper piping.  Didn’t know that pipe was so important, did you, Stephen? Nobody hurt, and the lights were easily rehung! Whew!

000 22-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewFinished! Kim is proud of her work!  Only 200 more sections to fill, and then you can call it a day!

000 23-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewGreg and Sarah opted to paint the sanctuary in lieu of hanging insulation …

000 24-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crew… along with Kim from Cambridge, and Liz from Ascension in the far left.

000 25-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewRosemary from Cambridge was there, too!

000 26-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewPaul flunked the audition for the next Batman movie. Now, he’s practicing for the role of Leonardo da Vinci who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

000 27-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewLiz and Kim still hard at work!

000 28-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewSarah, the group’s other leader, helping Paul prime the ceiling.

000 29-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThe group enjoyed working with several members of the church, including Terry, the steward of the church who is seen here painting the sanctuary.

000 30-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewAfter running out of things to do at the church, the group began to work on cleaning up this severely damaged home in Broad Channel. It is owned by an older gentleman who lived there for 35 years with his wife. Unfortunately, his wife died suddenly in late December, so his family has had a lot of heartache in the past 6 months! :-(

000 31-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewAs you can see here, this little bungalow opens out directly onto Jamaica Bay, just a few feet above sea level.  During the hurricane, the Bay and the Atlantic Ocean covered the town and this house with 9 ft. of seawater!

000 32-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewColin and Tyler from Cambridge MA getting ready to go to work on the house

000 34-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewAs you can see, the hurricane caused a lot of damage

000 35-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThe bathroom sink and kitchen cabinets might be salvageable, but not much else.

000 33-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewOur main goal was to clean up the house so work could begin on rebuilding it.

000 44-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewEverything was pretty much trashed.

000 45-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewSomebody had been in before and removed much of the old sheet rock to lessen the development of mold in the walls.

000 37-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThe team gets to work!

000 38-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewYou never knew when a big piece of the roof might fall down on you.  Thankfully, the foam board in the suspended ceiling was very light and didn’t hurt anybody.

000 39-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewNew York City Rapid Repair had already come and replace the heating system and electrical service, so we had to be careful not to damage that.

000 40-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewMac seems to be trying to figure out what to do next.

000 41-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewCindy getting into the act removing nails and sheet rock from the walls.

000 42-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewAlexandar wielded a mean hammer.  Cindy told her parents that she could easily get a job  some day doing demolition work! :-)

000 43-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewSpecial care had to be taken in one of the rooms because the attic was still full of the owner’s belongings.

000 46-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewNo, the camera isn’t dirty.  Those spots are dust particles reflecting the flash when this picture was taken.  Now you know why everybody is wearing a respirator!

000 47-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewPastor Stephen, assistant pastor at Ascension Church in Forest Hills, has been a big help and encouragement all along!

000 48-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewIt might not look good enough to eat off the floor yet, but the kitchen definitely looks better.

000 49-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewFor some reason or the other, nobody chose to go to the bathroom while they were working at this house.  Not too much privacy, I guess.

000 50-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewRoom # 1 looks a lot cleaner now!

000 52-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewDitto Room #2

000 51-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crew… and the same for Room #3.  As you see, it isn’t a big house, but it still took a lot of effort to clean it up!

000 53-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThe phantom team member made an appearance during the weekend.

000 54-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewWho’s who?

000 55-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewNow we know!

000 56-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThe team stayed at a Mission House rented by a sister church in Brooklyn.

000 57-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewNothing fancy about the dining room. but it was a nice place to eat a home cooked meal after a day’s work!

000 58-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewIt was also a nice place to enjoy fellowship during free time.

000 59-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewColin relaxing at the Mission House after a hard day’s work.  David knew Colin from when he worked in the same region as we do for MTW. Now he is finishing his M. Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary in Boston.

000 60-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewThe bunks are three deep in the Mission House.  Hard on anybody who’s claustrophobic!

000 61-Blog 06-07-2013 - Mem. Day Work crewWe’re pleased to report that everybody on the team returned safe and sound to Cambridge MA after a weekend of hard work and great fellowship. From left to right are Kim, Sarah, Andy, Roger, Mac, Colin, Tyler, Greg, Rosemary, Earle and Paul.  Thanks guys for coming out to help!

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Another Christmas Miracle - jpg(click here to see photos and video of the party)

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1-Gift table

Local volunteers prepared the gift table beforehand for the parents

2-Waiting in Line

Families waited patiently outside as another group is let in

3-Vols from TX

Smiling volunteers from Lubbock, Texas greeted the guests at the registration table

4-Party Overview

Chairs were set up for parents to sit in while waiting for their children

5-Party Overview

Ornaments and decorations hung from steel girders in the ceiling

6-Getting directions

A local volunteer gave directions to the guests

7-Larry greeting guests

Relief Center Director Larry Holcombe (the guy w/ the glasses) greeted the guests


Children lined up to begin making crafts while parents visited the gift table


Volunteers from Texas and Virginia helped the kids with their crafts


The crafts were easy to make


Some of the volunteers (lady in front) interacted with the kids, and some didn’t (guy in back)

12-Having fun

Everybody seemed to have a good time

13-Parents shopping

Parents disappeared behind the curtain to get gifts while children were doing crafts. We tried to give the rusty 60’s-era Bentley taxi cab in the back away but nobody would take it.


Refreshments were served on foil-covered building supply pail lids

15-Happy family

A happy family with a Santa-sized bag of gifts donated from people all over the U.S.

16-'Happy' family

The child in the front either didn’t want to leave or wanted to see what was in the bag!

17-Party Overview

The party continued for 1 1/2 hours

18-Vols. from VA

Some tired volunteers from VA ready to head to the hotel after driving up that morning (note the reflective FEMA blankets decorating the walls)


Rudolph came to stay!

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