Community Methodist Church rallies volunteers to help Sandy victims
Dowling lacrosse player Andrew McMenamy, 18, lifted a large slab of water-stained wall that doubled his height and carried it out of the white, one-story home on Mound Street in Lindenhurst Friday afternoon.
McMenamy was one of 33 lacrosse players from Dowling College who volunteered at Community Methodist Church in Massapequa to restore homes that were hit by superstorm Sandy.
“We just came out to help,” said McMenamy, of Brentwood. “People just need help, so we’re helping them.”
The home which flooded with 4 feet of water during superstorm Sandy belongs to Lillian Weber who lives there with her 45-year-old son, Danny Weber, who has cerebral palsy.
“My husband would have made me do that,” said her daughter-in-law Alexis Weber, 38, of Bellmore. “He wanted me to carry a refrigerator yesterday. I looked at him and was like ‘Do you understand I’m a girl?’”
The Long Island church has been working with the United Methodist Committee on Relief, which is a nonprofit dedicated to helping those in need around the world, and has rallied more than 300 volunteers to help rehab about 70 homes on Long Island.
“We are working with whoever wants to volunteer and we are helping those who need our help most: the elderly, people with low income, handicapped people and so forth,” said Rev. Jeff Wells, who is pastor of Community Methodist Church.
The Community Methodist Church offers training on Saturdays, where volunteers are taught safety skills and put through sensitivity training. The United Methodist Church on Relief is accepting applications for volunteers on its website: http://www.umcor.org/.
“They’re being trained to help people and that might just be listening to their story,” said Wells.
The church is dispatching volunteers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a daily basis, to homes in need of repair. The relief work is projected to continue for a year, according to Wells.
“We do it because it is our belief in the fundamental nature to love one another,” said Wells.
Volunteers of the church have come from different states, ranging from Massachusetts to Nebraska. There were nine people from Ohio working on John Ryder’s home on South 5th Street Lindenhurst.
Surrounded by water-damaged trinkets, carpets and cabinets, Ryder, 76, stood in the dining room of his South Shore home.
"The water came up to 3 feet," Ryder said. "It destroyed so much."