When hundreds of good-hearted volunteers begin work Monday at the 2013 Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Atlantic City, N.J., they’ll be doing so exactly six months after Superstorm Sandy roared ashore, flooding thousands of residences.
This Legacy Build will be unlike any other as The Fuller Center’s first Legacy Build to focus exclusively on long-term disaster recovery, a process already set in motion by the host Fuller Center for Housing in the New Jersey Pines and Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders.
But it will be different in another way as Fuller Center volunteers will not be working just to repair flood-damaged homes; they also will be working to win hearts of a public that is weary of rebuilding starts and stops, unmet promises, mountains of red tape and the few opportunists who occasionally descend upon such disasters.
Fuller Center President David Snell embraces the challenge of winning over a doubtful public — not just for this single weeklong event but also for future homeowner partners who need The Fuller Center’s assistance in the long-term recovery process.
“Anytime there’s a disaster, people’s lives are affected and everything changes for them,” Snell acknowledged. “In a single night, folks in Atlantic City went from having comfortable, safe homes to having flooded living rooms. There’s a lot of anxiety around the construction process. And there’s a lot of misapprehension about who’s doing what. It’s made it more of a challenge to get folks to come forward.”
The hope is that when word spreads of the good work done by The Fuller Center’s volunteers that more homeowners will come forward and accept the helping hand extended by our ministry in the months to come. Snell expects The Fuller Center to set the example for what can be done in Atlantic City and erase doubts that may be held by those unfamiliar with the housing ministry.
“What I’m hoping that what this week does is demonstrate to those folks in Atlantic City that The Fuller Center is there to help, and we can do it in a thoughtful, respectful and careful way so that we’ll be able to help more of these families out,” he said. “I think the week is going to be a real eye-opener for folks in Atlantic City when they see this many people coming — and coming from all across the country — for the sole purpose of helping them out. I think it’s going to be an endearing event. I think the people there are going to look a little bit more kindly on folks like us who are coming from far away to just lend a hand.”
Meanwhile, the weather for the week’s build will be cool but not cold. Highs every day of the build are forecast to range from 55 to 59 while forecast lows range from 46 to 48 each night. Click here for the latest weather forecast for Atlantic City.