We’ve had all kinds of interesting visitors to the PDA Volunteer Village in our Education Annex, but the best-known by far is New Jersey’s First Lady, Mary Pat Christie, who toured the facility on April 15th.
Mrs. Christie was here in her capacity as chair of the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, a major private charity that has grown up in the wake of the storm. The Fund recently granted the church $31,300, primarily to make further upgrades to the Education Annex to advance the Volunteer Village mission.
After viewing the kitchen, Great Hall and dormitory areas, Mrs. Christie spent some time visiting with the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance workers, as well as with several PPPC volunteers who have been active in hosting our guests. She also stopped by the church’s Point Beach Prep preschool and spoke with the students and teachers.
During her visit, she spent about 20 minutes meeting with George Elliott (leader of the visiting volunteers from Lend A Hand), Peter Farwell and the Rev. Carl Wilton. Among other things, they spoke of some ways the State could streamline some of the approval processes that are necessary for short-term volunteer construction work to go forward.
In her brief talk to the volunteers, Mrs. Christie emphasized that the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund – like our Volunteer Village – is part of the long-term recovery effort. While some have expressed frustration that the Fund has not dispensed money directly to Sandy survivors, that is not its purpose. The Fund is intended to help non-profit organizations (like PDA and us) to provide services directly to those who are rebuilding. In that way, the impact of the dollars contributed is multiplied many times over.
We’re grateful to Mrs. Christie – and especially to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund – for the interest and support they have shown as we go about our local recovery efforts.