Churches getting Staten Island back on its feet

Evangelical congregations on Staten Island continue to work around the clock to help a community still reeling from Hurricane Sandy.

Churches sprang into action when the storm ravaged the island, organising volunteers and distributing aid.

Church at the Gateway, one of the largest evangelical churches on Staten Island, is a designated emergency shelter and has been transformed into a hub for equipment, volunteers and supplies.

The church has received truckloads of donated food, water and winter clothing.

Dozens of volunteers are sleeping in the Sunday school rooms and being fed out of the church's kitchen as they continue to assist people in need.

Many homes were damaged by Sandy and there has been frustration that some are still without power two weeks on.

Gateway Pastor Tim Mercaldo has been making daily trips around the island to transport essential items to distribution centres set up by other local churches.

With the cold New York winter rapidly setting in, Reverend Mercaldo is inviting other churches to partner with Gateway in helping the community get back on its feet.

"This is way too big of a job for the churches of Staten Island to do alone," he said.

"More and more churches around the country are getting on board with help and its' all needed. The federal agencies are doing what they can, but it's falling to the churches to do the heavy stuff.

"Churches were the first on the scene and are now doing most of the work."

Reverend Mercaldo is welcoming financial donations towards Gateway's relief effort at www.churchatthegateway.org/

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