Ship Bottom Recruits Grace Calvary Church as Additional Relief Center for Long Beach IslandChurch Lends Building and Volunteers
As it was available to help, Grace Calvary Church has been asked by Ship Bottom borough to be a relief center for Long Beach Island. The church, at 19th Street in Ship Bottom, will open its doors to be a place for anyone to get a hot lunch, relief supplies for wintertime, a warm rest and more.
The relief center with a soup kitchen is anticipated to be open Monday, Nov. 12, its pastors said.
“The relief center will be providing hot lunches Monday through Saturday. We think it’s going to be a big help,” said the Rev. Dan Stott, whose prayer service at an off-Island site on Sunday was filmed by NBC News.
Asked whom the center will be open to, he said, “It’s for anyone: any workers, military, firefighters, police officers, community people – anyone who’s hungry.”
Stott said, “For whatever reason, our building was spared. And now we’re going to put it to good use to serve our community. We have the full backing of the borough council of Ship Bottom, (and) including the police force.”
“Home Depot of Manahawkin has donated an electric stove. We have a truck coming on Saturday, Nov.r 10, bringing all sorts of supplies,” added Executive Pastor Craig Braun.
Its presence may be one answer for many who have been asking where they can send donations to a specific relief effort on LBI. The church has already begun getting help from organizations that learned of the effort, but it will need funds to address the emergent need, pastors said.
“If you would like to donate money for this cause, please make the check payable to Grace Calvary Church and in the memo line write ’Sandy Recovery.’ Mail to 1902 Long Beach Blvd., Ship Bottom, N.J. 08008,” a notice on Facebook said on Tuesday.
The church’s central location on the Island has already brought people to its doorstep.
“I met a couple out on the sidewalk yesterday eating sandwiches out in the cold, and the man had some sort of bloody nose or something. I went over to them and said, ’Look, we’ve got a heater,’ and he said, ’Can I use it?’ And I said, ’Of course you can,’ ” Stott related in an interview with The SandPaper Tuesday afternoon.
“We can offer a warm environment,” he said. “We want to offer them not just a sandwich, but offer them a warm room as well.”
Some people have also made use of the church by charging their cell phones, he said.
People who need spiritual warmth, or prayer, will find that as well.
“That same day, out in the parking lot, there was a mother and daughter who lost everything. ... I prayed with them, trying to encourage them,” Stott said. “Over at the firehouse the other day, I prayed with the firefighters. They’re exhausted. And there are men in the firehouse over there who have lost their homes.”
The church’s chimes, which ring out from the steeple, were not squelched by the hurricane’s elements, and they are ringing again a week after the storm.
“We’ve got the chimes playing. Yesterday I took out a big, frame, white sign that we have, and I got an idea. I took it out to the street, took a can of black spray paint, and sprayed the word ’hope’ and I put below it ’LBI,’” Stott added.
“We’re getting the organization of the whole situation put together,” the pastor said. “We have had heaters donated to the building from various organizations. Joe Mayo of Re/Max said he wants a list of everything we need. I just got off the phone with a church called Graceway Bible Church in Hamilton, N.J., that is going to come and help unload the truck.
“There are other things we can slowly begin to do as we get permits. There is an initiative we’re calling Hands and Feet Ministry where, for example, if someone has wet carpet, we can help pull it out of the house. We’re going to try to do our best to help people with things like that.”
Taking care of members of the church’s own congregation will be a priority for the Hands and Feet work crew, but “as resources become available, we can continue to become a hand to the community,” Stott envisions. “It’s going to be long days, and I’ll be honest with you: If people would like to send a donation, we will still have to pay the electric bills and buy supplies, and in order to staff all of this and stay functional, we could use any help we can get.
“We’re strong people,” Stott said about his fellow Islanders. “We are going to rebuild. Of course it’s going to take a while, but this (relief center) is an opportunity for good to come out of it; some new friendships are going to be formed.”
People who saw the notice on Facebook were asking how they could volunteer. The church’s phone number is 609-494-7777.