Five Months After Sandy

hurricaneAs some of you may know, I have been spending many of my weekends in the Eastern Long Island Town of Mastic Beach. The town is somewhat forgotten, few news crews have visited, and many residents are struggling to get their lives back on track after the storm ravaged their homes. One of the more devastating effects of Sandy was that it destroyed the barrier islands that protected this community. The lost of the islands has caused repeated flooding whenever there is a higher than normal tide and during serious rain or snowstorms. Our best estimates are telling us that there is at least four more years worth of work on Long Island, and while much of the island has gone back to life as normal, the communities of the south shore are still reeling.

Three thoughts from this past weekend out east:

  • I had a fascinating conversation with the head of Sandy relief efforts for a major organization that handles case management and social work. Without knowing my background, she began telling me about how many different religious groups that she has been working with, and how great it has been to see the faith communities come together around this effort. She then went on to talk about how amazing the Southern Baptist Convention has been in the disaster relief effort… and that while she never expected to enjoy working with the SBC, she can not get over how amazing they have been. I thought that was incredibly cool.
  • We have gotten to the point after a disaster that many people are realizing that they are not recovering from the hurricane, that FEMA and their insurance companies are not, responding in a timely manner (or with the help they need), and that they can’t return to life as normal. As a result, we are seeing an increase in the amount of people who are in need… and homes that need to be rebuilt.
  • This weekend I bumped into my first case of a homeowner being taken advantage of by a contractor. After three months of “work” her home was still not livable, her rebuild money was exhausted, and his negligence caused major damage to her plumbing. I have heard stories of these kinds of situations, but this was the first case that I had actually seen. The cool thing was that the community has rallied around her, and her home is close to being put back together. We hope to have her in her home by the end of the week.

Despite what you may (or may not) be hearing, Long Island still needs help. The people are still hurting, and we need YOU. Pray for the people of Long Island, pray for Mastic Beach, and pray about joining in the efforts out here (email me for more info), whether it be for a weekend, a week this summer, or however you might be able to serve.

Will YOU continue to pray for Long Island?


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.