MORRISTOWN, N.J., March 31 (UPI) -- Superstorm Sandy victims in New York's Staten Island borough will get an "Easter surprise" when of hundreds of volunteers show up to help out, a pastor says.
Tim Lucas, lead pastor of the Liquid Church of New Jersey in Morristown, is heading up the army of volunteers from the non-denominational Christian church known for providing clean drinking water to the poorest of the poor in Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Haiti and El Salvador.
Lucas said New York City officials recently reported hundreds of buildings were still without power and heat or otherwise uninhabitable. Contractors have completed repairs on more than 1,200 structures, but work has yet to begin on more than 600 homes needing repair.
The church previously mobilized 2,300 volunteers on Thanksgiving weekend to "muck out" storm-damaged homes across the Midland Beach section of Staten Island and serve Thanksgiving dinners to families.
Easter Sunday and April 6, the church will send 350 volunteers back to help with additional projects in partnership with New Hope Church, which has coordinated efforts during recent months.
"Easter is about the renewal of all things, and we want to help our Staten Island neighbors rebuild their lives," Lucas said in a statement. "Hope is the most important building material for the human heart, and it's our privilege to lock arms with our New York neighbors this spring."
Because insurance and contracted work to date has been responsible for structural and interior work, volunteer teams from the church will begin work on exterior projects on hundreds of homes, including debris clean-outs and landscaping, Lucas said.
"While life has moved on for many in our region, hundreds of families are still stuck in the grind of a slow recovery," Lucas said. "This Easter, we want to let families impacted by Sandy know that they haven't been forgotten by God or his people."