Rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy…and a small taste of Philly

Hello!
Today I am excited to share my latest adventure with you; a service trip through my college to Tom’s River, New Jersey.
Derek and I traveled to NJ this past week with a group of nineteen other students and four faculty members.  We went for a week of service, hoping to help rebuild the Tom’s River and East Dover communities.  The week was absolutely incredible – I was blessed to work beside some amazing people and was humbled by the strength and JOY of the New Jersey communities as they rebuild after Sandy.

We worked to deconstruct a home on our first day of service.  The structure looked to be in decent condition from the outside, but the inside was a wreck; the water damage was bringing all sorts of problems, and so we gutted everything below a four foot line in the home.  We tore out dry wall, appliances, floorboards, and insulation.

2013-03-08_00142013-03-08_00162013-03-08_00172013-03-08_00132013-03-08_00032013-03-08_0015About halfway through the week we had the opportunity to drive through Seaside Heights and the surrounding towns on the bay and I was completely floored.  I couldn’t believe the amount of destruction and devastation.  And I couldn’t believe how much SAND there was!

2013-03-08_0025A small disclaimer – most all of these images were taken through the windows of our bus on our rainy day drive, so they’re not the highest quality.  Look past the raindrops please. :)2013-03-08_0005Our bus was almost completely silent through the drive and the dreary skies added to the surreal landscape we were experiencing.  Homes were destroyed and the communities were abandoned.  It’s hard to place into words, and so I’ll let the images speak for themselves:2013-03-08_00242013-03-08_00062013-03-08_00072013-03-08_0004

2013-03-08_00262013-03-08_00232013-03-08_0027The New Jersey communities are facing a long journey of restoration and repair.  My heart aches for the families and individuals in need, and our service really brought a strong reality check of how extremely and abundantly blessed I am.  I was amazed by the hospitality and gratitude we received, and will always hold this adventure and service near and dear to my heart.  I loved seeing the joy and dedication that overflowed from a community taking strong steps towards restoration.  They were beautifully hopeful, and it was AMAZING. :)2013-03-08_00202013-03-08_0019

One afternoon we were treated to an afternoon in Philadelphia.  Here are a few fun images from our rainy day trek through the city.

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I have so many stories I could share, so get in contact if you’d like to hear more about our trip.  I would love to share. :)2013-03-08_0008

Sending love and prayers to the East Coast,

Rachel

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One thought on “Rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy…and a small taste of Philly

  1. Thank you for blessing my New Jersey communities with your week of service. The amount of work your college did for our community was amazing. When I describe how quickly your group was able to sheet rock our firehouse many contractors are speechless :) Thank you for capturing these images through your lens and your written words. My community thanks you and will never forget your generosity and kindness. You will always be a Honorary REAL Jersey Girl. https://www.facebook.com/TheRealJerseyGirls

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