Milwaukee-area churches, charities stepping up to provide Sandy relief

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee-area churches and charities are stepping up to help those affected by superstorm Sandy along the nation's east coast. The storm, once a hurricane, made landfall Monday, October 29th and left devastation in its wake.

Cleaning up and rebuilding in the northeast will take some time, and some in the Midwest are looking to help in any way they can.

Mary Ann Lee says members from the Elmbrook Church are ready to help with storm cleanup, and the group of volunteers is experienced in recovery missions. They plan to help homeowners along the east coast -- just as they did when hurricanes Katrina and Isaac struck the south.

"We tend to work with individual homeowners. If your basement is flooded and there's mud, we're in there with boots pulling insulation out, cutting trees and removing debris and tarping roofs," Lee said.

The church group has teamed up with Samaritan's Purse for the mission.

"They'll go to some place that isn't getting any help, or limited help," Lee said.

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities already has folks on the ground in Sandy-affected areas.

"Back east, every agency out there is actively involved in giving basic needs by helping with water and shelter," a Catholic Charities representative told FOX6 News.

The charity is asking for donations which will go toward resources for Sandy victims.

"Keep praying with us, and use your resources to help those in need," a Catholic Charities representative said.

Volunteers say after a devastating storm like Sandy, the uncertainty can be discouraging, so volunteers are also working to repair damaged spirits.

"You're right there with the people, and they're hurting, and you can hug them. Part of our church is serving and reaching out into the community. We say Jesus loves and we're coming because you're not without hope," Lee said.

The Elmbrook team plans to head east as soon as they find a staging facility -- as immediately following the storm, there are many locations without power.

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CLICK HERE for information on making a storm-relief donation via Catholic Charities.