As the two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches, so does the anniversary of the opening of the Volunteer Village. Anyone who has visited the second floor of the annex is bound to have noticed many changes that have occurred. You may wonder “who paid for all of this?” The answer is simple and lengthy at the same time. The Volunteer Village is financially independent from the Church finances. So, how were all the changes financed?
They were financed in three ways: grants, donations, and per diem payments (to be addressed later).
PPPC was fortunate enough to receive two grants. One came from the Robin Hood Foundation and the second came from the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Together, they amounted to $56,300.00. Nearly all of the funds have been spent. Together, they paid for:
1. The installation of the showers,
2. The key fob system for the rear door of the annex,
3. $5,000.00 worth of tools for the visiting volunteers to use,
4. New baseboard heating units in all of the annex restrooms,
5. New stall partitions in the annex second floor restrooms,
6. The salaries of the seminarian interns,
7. Materials for the bunk bed ladders,
8. Materials for the second storage cabinet in the great hall,
9. The majority of the kitchen renovations.
Now, let’s address donations (forgive me if something was omitted).
1. $2,500.00 worth of tools donated by Klein Tools.
2. Bunk beds and mattresses donated by the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
3. 50 bedcovers donated by London Luxury.
4. Blinds in the sleeping area donated by a church family.
5. The commercial refrigerator donated by a church family.
6. The ice machine donated by a church family.
7. The fabric for the curtain dividers that close off the sleeping area donated
by a church family.
8. The lounge furniture donated by multiple church families.
9. The van donated by a former church member.
We also received some donated labor.
1. The Boy Scouts stained the bunk bed ladders.
2. The ladies from Busy Hands fashioned the curtain dividers.
3. Visiting volunteers from Lend A Hand moved and rebuilt the existing second floor storage cabinet and built a second one.
On another trip, they divided the Manse garage into two sections. One section became a work and tool storage area.
Now, getting back to per diem payments. It is the per diem payments received from each volunteer that make the Volunteer Village financially self sustaining. In fact, upon the recommendation of PDA, a percentage of all per diem payments received by the church is set aside in a separate savings account. When all the recovery work is done and the Volunteer Village is closed, the church will have funds to use (at the discretion of Session) to freshen up the annex.
Each time people from our church go on a mission trip, a daily fee is charged for each person by the host site. Such is also the case with our visiting volunteers. What is this per diem used for? First and foremost, the per diem money is used to purchase food to feed the volunteers. Then, the remainder is used to cover expenses the church would not have incurred if the village didn’t exist (like increased utility costs). It is also used to pay for items to make the volunteers more comfortable while they are staying with us (purchase first aid kits, for example). Session also approved paying for the small portion of the latest kitchen renovation that was not covered by the grants as the renovation would not have been done if the village didn’t exist.
At PPPC, there is frequently mention made of donating your time and treasures. You’ve just read about the treasures. The Volunteer Village only works thanks to the church members and their friends who donate countless hours shopping for food, cooking meals, scheduling the visiting groups, scheduling/organizing the work days, spending time visiting with the volunteers, evaluating the skill levels of the volunteers, providing administrative services, etc. Come, join the fun.