Churches Accomplishing Long-term Recovery (CALTR) is mobilizing a new sector of volunteers to assist in repairing storm-damaged houses at the Jersey shore. Unemployed people who want to learn construction skills are being paired with high-skilled volunteers who work beside and teach them on the job. In the past 2 months, 8 more properties have been improved, bringing to 114 the number of homes restored through the classis-wide efforts of CALTR.

A $99,000 grant from the Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund, obtained for CALTR by Classis New Brunswick Community Development Corp., provides $70,000 in construction materials and $29,000 to pay CALTR’s two part-time workers: the construction manager (overseeing all volunteers as they install flooring, roofing, insulation, doors and windows, etc.) and the volunteer coordinator (who recruits teams from churches around the nation to spend a week helping NJ’s low-income homeowners struggling to rebuild).  The coordinator arranges all hospitality for visiting work teams, and also now recruits local people, both skilled and unskilled, to serve by the day if they do not have a full week available.

Unemployed volunteers who previously thought they were in no position to help are now enjoying teamwork and doing good to others, restoring homes for grateful families while adding skills to their resume.  They completed a roofing job in Middletown, constructed a shed in Union Beach, removed a deck from a foundation in Clifton Beach to prepare for elevating the house ten feet, and did demolition of a house beyond repair in Keansburg so the homeowner could construct a new dwelling.

When worksites are not too far away, CALTR utilizes Community Church of Keyport to warm up and eat lunch, thanks to the church’s lunchtime feeding program. Consistory is active in identifying houses for CALTR to repair and in offering CALTR’s help to homeowners.   Middlebush Reformed Church recently provided a work team of pastor and congregants to construct the rafters for roofing a house in Union Beach, and has organized a drywall team to contribute their skills periodically. Metuchen Reformed Church is set to accommodate and provide meals to a week-long team that will be arriving from an out-of-state church.  Colts Neck Reformed Church sent 7 volunteers to the Interfaith Day of Service CALTR held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, joined by two Muslim volunteers from a local Turkish community, 5 members of Reformed Church of Highland Park, and 2 volunteers through WorkFirst NJ.

With teamwork among our churches, leadership by CALTR’s staff and steering committee, and administrative support from our CDC, CALTR takes our Classis of New Brunswick to new heights of giving neighborly love to those who can use it.  Email to participate.