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Madison, NJ 07940 (map)
Union Beach Volunteering
If you are considering volunteering at Union Beach, please consider the following:
Bring a change of clothes, and change after the work, or before you walk into your home. Wash the clothes immediately. Bring:
Sturdy shoes (boots preferred),
rubber gloves inside work gloves,
reflective vest if you have one,
food & water,
N95 dust mask,
Use common sense and only work in an area in which you feel safe.
The following list was provided by Pastor Nancy Lynch of the Presbyterian Church of Madison for those volunteers that may work inside someone's home or on their property:
Ten Things to Remember When Volunteering at a Disaster Site ...
1. You are there to help the homeowner, in whatever way(s) the homeowner wants you to help. In other words, the homeowner, not the home, is our primary concern. Remember that everyone processes and expresses grief in his or her own way, which may be different from the way you process or express grief. Please be sensitive to this.
2. One of the most terrifying things about a disaster is the complete and utter loss of control that happens during the disaster. Give homeowners an opportunity to overcome that sense of helplessness by allowing them to direct you. Even small decisions (i.e., “Would you like me to do this, or that? Would you like me to place this here, or there?”) can help them regain a sense of control over their lives. You can suggest an alternative way of doing something, but always ask permission first: “May I make a suggestion?” Always follow the lead of the homeowner.
3. Talk to the homeowner(s); get to know them. Sometimes their need to simply share their story is more important to them than the physical work that needs to be done.
4. Reassure them, if necessary, that this difficult time is survivable for them. Recognize that things may never go back to the way they were, but affirm that a “new normal” is absolutely possible. Affirm their feelings, whatever they are (“I can understand that.” “I can imagine how that would be so difficult.” “I would feel the same way.”).
5. Affirm the homeowners in whatever ways you can. “I’m impressed with how much you’ve accomplished!”, or “You’re doing great!” are wonderful to hear. They help the homeowner see that progress is definitely occurring, even if there’s still much to be done.
6. When removing cherished possessions from a home (and they’re all cherished after a disaster), place them at the curb or in a bin; never throw them. They may be destroyed, but they are still cherished possessions. Never refer to cherished possessions as “trash.”
7. Be conscious of the words you use; make sure that ALL of them are kind. Be aware that homeowners are listening to you, even if you’re talking to a fellow volunteer and not to them. Even something like, “Wow, I can’t believe how bad this is!” can be hurtful to a homeowner who is well aware of how bad this is.
8. Safety first: Always wear your N95 mask, your safety goggles when doing demolition work, and heavy rubber (not cotton) work gloves. Because of mold, plan on throwing out the mask and the work gloves before you leave.
9. Also because of mold, change your clothes (including your shoes) before returning home, or take them off as soon as you get home and immediately wash them. Leave your shoes outside your home until you can clean them with a mixture of 80% water/20% vinegar.
- Report any unusual difficulties you encounter to disaster assistance command for further follow-up. We want to know if there are special construction, medical, spiritual or other issues that require attention. We are here to help.