News Story

Canadian Mormons Aid Neighbours Affected by Hurricane Sandy 

Mormon Helping Hands (MHH) volunteers from Quebec and Ontario recently travelled to disaster-hit neighbourhoods in New York, making a significant dent in the cleanup efforts following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

One hundred forty members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who make up a large part of MHH, boarded buses and crossed international borders to aid their neighbours to the south who were devastated by the superstorm.

MHH relief efforts began almost immediately after the hurricane, and to date, more than 28,000 MHH volunteers have given of their time, totalling over 275,000 hours.

Volunteer Kirstie Shepherd spent the first full day ripping out drywall, insulation, floorboards and tiles ruined by the flood waters, for a family whose home had been completely destroyed.

"I can't thank all the volunteers enough for all the amazing help my family received!” wrote Kelly-Ann Mcmullan-Preiss of Belle Harbor, New York. “You will all be forever in our hearts!”

Teams of relief workers were paired with local missionaries serving in the Plainview area of Long Island, where they were taken to homes in need of assistance.  In one weekend, 111 outstanding work orders were fulfilled.

"What seemed like an impossible task at the beginning was quickly completed" said Shepherd, who came from Niagara Falls to offer help. "The work was hard ... but the job was fun."

Thousands of boxes of food were given to the Red Cross, and the Church donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross of Greater New York. In addition, nine semi-trucks full of cleaning supplies - including shovels, generators and water pumps - were sent to a central support centre in Emerson, New Jersey, and 10 truckloads of blanket and clothing donations have been distributed throughout the region.

During the six-week-long cleanup effort, volunteers have travelled from as far as New Hampshire and Virginia, Ontario and Quebec. Thousands of volunteers from various locations even spent the night in local Mormon church buildings over the holidays in order to offer more assistance with recovery efforts.

Shepherd remarked, "It was the greatest weekend of my life and I hope to be able to carry this feeling forever in my heart."  

As the volunteer teams left the area, they were thanked by local residents. "I am so grateful," cried one woman as she hugged team members goodbye. "You have done so much for me. You are my angels." 

Additional Mormon Helping Hands work will occur throughout the impacted areas.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.