After SuperStorm Sandy struck last fall, The Fuller Center for Housing in the New Jersey Pines was among the first groups on the ground looking to help the storm-battered residents of Atlantic City — even though the covenant partner is based nearly an hour away in Tabernacle, N.J.
New Jersey Pines Executive Director Neil Brown has been working to help Atlantic City residents ever since, including bringing in Fuller Center U.S. Builder teams and hosting the Millard Fuller Legacy Build in April, an event that brought more than 200 volunteers to Atlantic City to work on 21 different sites.
Part of the mission of that Legacy Build was simple — to repair homes. The other was not so simple — to rebuild trust in a community where so much trust had been washed away. The work of New Jersey Pines and the Legacy Build has done just that, and in its wake a new covenant partner has emerged: The Atlantic City Fuller Center for Housing.
Led by the Rev. Collins Days, whose Second Baptist Church hosted many of the Legacy Build activities, the new partner gives The Fuller Center a permanent presence in a city that has often seen fleeting help. Now, The Fuller Center is there to stay.
“The Fuller Center for Housing in the New Jersey Pines pulled off an amazing task in hosting the Millard Fuller Legacy Build,” said Kirk Lyman-Barner, The Fuller Center’s Director of U.S. Field Operations. “So much has been accomplished since my first visit in November when Neil and Merle Brown and I visited with Pastor Days and discussed the formation of a local covenant partner. Almost eight months after the storm to the day, that dream has now become a reality. We are proud of their efforts.”
The Legacy Build proved to be the turning point in garnering the support needed to start a permanent Fuller Center presence in Atlantic City.
“Everyone involved in the whole community was very surprised that people from all over the country could be so concerned about our community — especially when we felt that our community was going to be left out,” Days said. “For them to come in and to come in with such wonderful hearts and spirits really was just tremendous and really uplifting. This city has been very cynical. And the kind of atmosphere that The Fuller Center has already brought and already is existing here is what we need in this city in terms of meeting the housing needs. We’ve been embraced by local politicians and other community partners, so we’re very excited about it.”
Naturally, as a pastor, Days is impressed with the Christian principles behind The Fuller Center’s work and believes that is why it has been and will continue to be a success in Atlantic City.
“One of the things is the whole mission of The Fuller Center,” Days said. “Being Christian-oriented in the first place makes a big difference as it goes into our city. We’re expecting God to do some great things through The Fuller Center.”
Complete coverage of the 2013 Millard Fuller Legacy Build.