Mormons Uniquely Ready To Respond To Disasters Like Sandy

Friday, November 23, 2012

More than 10,000 Mormon Helping Hands volunteers have worked in storm damaged areas since Sandy hit. (Mark Weinberg)

Mormons are among the many faith-based organizations who've pitched in to assist in the post-Sandy relief effort. More than 5,000 are expected to volunteer this weekend in areas affected by the storm. Members say the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint's tradition of preparedness has helped mobilize both volunteers and supplies quickly.

Elder Jeffrey Olson of New Jersey, is an organizer for Helping Hands, the church’s community service and relief program. He said Mormons are encouraged to be ready for a range of emergencies and disasters. "One of our teachings is if you are prepared you shall not fear, so preparation is an important part of our culture,” Olson reflected.

Every congregation is required to have a disaster plan, and individual members are asked to keep at least a several month supply of food, water and other items on hand. Olson said the stockpile of supplies the church sets aside allows them to load trucks and send out supplies immediately.

Since Sandy hit, the church has already donated about 300,000 pounds of relief supplies, including pumps, tarps, generators and cleaning products.

Olson added the church is also able to marshal a large quantity of boots on the ground. In less than a month, he said more than 10,000 volunteers have been working to speed the cleanup throughout the tri-state area. This weekend volunteers from as far away as Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Virginia will be focused on helping storm victims remove and clean debris — with an eye on preventing mold from growing or spreading in damaged homes.

Olson said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Mormon practice of preparing for life’s emergencies becomes a more widespread practice.

“It’s about living prudently and being ready for the challenges that come,” he said.


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Comments [5]

Maury's Critic Purports to Speak for the World

Maury, I cannot imagine how wanting to be accurately represented in the media makes you a tightwad, but apparently "the world" hates you because of it. Ironically, "the world" failed to read this article and thus failed to recognize that the real world actually appreciates and respects Mormons. It's no big thing then to ask this respectful world to accurately report the name of your church, something you and its adherents hold dear.

Nov. 26 2012 01:34 AM
Robert Thompson from Brooklyn

I saw a couple of enthusiastic crews of Mormon youths Saturday in Coney Island. Hard workers, but they weren't safely equipped with the right face masks (N95 or higher) and goggles for the moldy junk they were hauling out.

On the other hand, a crew of Jehovah's Witnesses wore Tyvek suits with taped cuffs, booties, proper masks, goggles, and they had a amazingly organized team system. Was informed they help only other Witnesses: closing up the ark, as it were. But they heed science enough to dress for black mold.

More volunteers should follow the example set by the Witnesses, except for the bit about not helping their doomed neighbors.

Nov. 25 2012 10:36 PM
Ed from NYC

I respect Maury's comment for it's accuracy and it's rooting the church and it's members in it's belief. It is correct to make the amendment as he wrote it. For others to complain about it suggests a discomfort on their part with reality.

I'm not a Mormon but I respect those who adhere to their faith and show no shame nor pride but their truth.

Nov. 25 2012 09:44 AM
Keenan from American Fork UT

That's cool to see the LDS Church, the Mormon Church, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is spotlighted. Whatever you call us, at least the LDS Church was put in a nice spotlight. Sometimes we're misrepresented but not in this article, except if you see it from Maury's point of view.

I'd rather have the official name of the Mormon church not officially written out correctly than being lied at and/or misrepresented.

Furthermore, I wouldn't say the world dislikes Mormons. A few folks must like us. The world may think we're a little odd, a little peculiar. I get that. As a Mormon--a convert at the age 18; attended a historically black university; served an LDS mission to the Netherlands; multicultural background; graduate degree; fluent in Dutch--I would say most of the people interact with who are not LDS like me and, if they know I'm LDS, have a fairly positive viewpoint of my Church.

Bottom-line: "Maury", don't be too caught up with what they call they us as long as our church's actions (which should always be beyond reproach, positive in all aspects, and service-oriented to our fellow man) are portrayed accurately. "Shutup Maury from NY" (sort of an odd name ;) ), I would bet if you got to meet a few good Mormons, I think you'd have a more positive attitude toward us.

PS I wouldn't even try to convert you--maybe bring over a loaf of bread and get to know you--but definitely not try to convert you. Well, at least not on the first visit. ;)

Nov. 25 2012 02:54 AM
Maury Jones from Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Good article. However, it would have been nice to properly identify the church as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" instead of The Church of the Latter-Day Saints. We are touchy when you leave Jesus Christ out of our church, as he is the very foundation of our faith and it is only in and through his holy name that we can return to our Father's Kingdom.

Nov. 24 2012 07:10 AM

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