On Saturday, August 17, 2013, nearly 40 members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR), Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau in Garden City, Original Blessing in Brooklyn and First Unitarian Congregational Society Brooklyn partnered with volunteers from the Central East Regional Group of the Unitarian Universalist Association (CERG) and Sustainable Long Island to clean the shoreline along the bay of the City of Long Beach. Volunteers of all ages worked together throughout the day to repair the ravages left by Superstorm Sandy last fall. Other volunteers joining the service project were from the group All Hands and residents of Long Beach and other LI communities.
The organizers of this volunteer effort included Claire Deroche, UUCSR Social Justice Coordinator, Betty Jeanne Rueters-Ward, UUCSR Youth and Young Adults Program Coordinator, the Rev. Susan Karlson, CERG Disaster Response Coordinator and Fernando Tirado, Director of Programs, Sustainable Long Island.
As a multigenerational collaboration and expression of the UU faith, this service project began and concluded with a worship service coordinated by Rev. Susan Karlson and three young adults of UUCSR (Jesse Bick, Amanda Beth Campbell, and Kiaya Rose Dilsner-Lopez ). Supporting this 'faith in action' mission, ministers from the NY metro area lent a hand as well: Rev. Dr. Paul S. Johnson, Senior Minister of UUCSR, Rev. Ben Bortin, Membership and Volunteer Coordinator of UUCSR and Rev. Ian White Maher, Minister of Original Blessing.
The Central East Regional Group of the Unitarian Universalists (CERG) and Sustainable Long Island are both UUCSR Large Grant recipients. At a meeting this past March, UUCSR voted to allocate $680,000 from the Large Grants Fund to support five different responses to Superstorm Sandy reconstruction. Monies were allocated to the Metro New York District of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to hire a Disaster Response Coordinator to recruit, coordinate and develop partnerships that will enable Unitarian Universalist volunteers to aid in the much needed long-term repair and recovery assistance to communities most seriously affected by Superstorm Sandy. Funds were also awarded to Sustainable Long Island for five-component collaboration with the City of Long Beach to ensure a robust and equitable economic recovery after Superstorm Sandy for all residents of the city. The Large Grants Program of UUCSR was created in 2007 in order to facilitate annual contributions made by UUCSR to causes selected by the congregation. Through the Large Grants Program, funds that are set aside for a period of seven years can be allocated in grants no less than $100,000 to a particular cause or organization.
More service projects to aid in Sandy recovery are being planned for the next few months which will see further collaboration within the UU faith and local communities throughout New York and New Jersey. Please contact the Rev. Susan Karlson, CERG Disaster Response Coordinator at
Additional Photos from the Long Beach Clean Up Day: