PCRT Update

On May 18th PCRT returned to the Rockaways with 6 volunteers for a full day of work organized by the Friends of The Rockaways (FOR).

This was PCRT’s first chance to partner with FOR and it was very successful. We spent the morning sanding dry wall, and the afternoon installing insulation, all supplies were provided by FOR. (Please see the note below that was sent by the FOR Volunteer Coordinator, Aaron Dickerson to PCRT).

Our next trip will be Sat. June 22 and will again partner with FOR – please see our sign- up sheet to volunteer – ages 16 and over, all skill levels welcome.

Hey Eric,

Thank you so much for volunteering with us last weekend; your contributions at the Collins’ and Barudos’ homes were much needed and much appreciated. I hope you had a pleasant experience—I know the Americorps NCCC team and I enjoyed working with your group and would love to see your continued involvement. You can continue to help us rebuild the Rock in a few different ways:

Spread the Word

We can’t do this work alone; tell your friends, family, and neighbors that you volunteered with Friends of Rockaway and that there is still much more work to get done! They can sign up here, or just check out our website, Facebook page, and Twitter.

Volunteer with us again

Hopefully you enjoyed the volunteering experience as much as we do! We would love to set a time for you to come back and work with us!


Whether it’s $5 or $5,000,000—any contribution helps. Click here to donate.

Again, we can’t thank you enough for the time and effort you’ve given to this incredibly important cause; you are making a significant impact on the lives of individuals who need it most. With that said, can we look forward to seeing you again?



Volunteer Coordinator




PCRT returns to the Rockaways:

Since Sandy hit 6 months ago, much has been done to help the people of the Rockaways and Breezy Point… but there are still many residents who need our help!

On Saturday May 18th PCRT will be joining with the Friends of Rockaways (FOR) to help in the rebuilding efforts. This work will be in spaces that have already been remediated, are mold free and ready for rebuilding efforts. We will be insulating, installing drywall and wood floors and moving families closer to returning to living in their home. These spaces have also been deemed to be at a level that meets the new flood level criteria as best as can be established at this time.

The minimum age is 16 for unescorted teens as long as they have a parent sign off on the waiver in advance of the work group.

If you would like to bring a child with you younger than 16, please contact PCRT first to make sure we have a job that can be filled.

Please visit the PCRT website – http://pelhamcommunityrelief.org and sign up as soon as possible so that we can let FOR know how many volunteers will be helping and can then organize the work more effectively. We will leave from the Huguenot church parking lot at 8 am .

If you have questions about the scope of the work please contact Eric Smith at:


From the Friends of Rockaway web site:

Qualifying homeowners can receive severely reduced residential reconstruction of their home through Friends of Rockaway. Our program leverages the skilled Rockaway residents to provide skilled services, like framing, plumbing and electricity, but also uses long-term volunteers to assist residents in the less-technical aspects of rebuilding, including hanging sheet rock, molding, trim, installation and painting.


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Huguenot Memorial Church | 901 Pelhamdale Ave | Pelham | NY | 10803



For the families displaced by a fire on Tuesday, April 23, Pelham Community Relief Team ( PCRT) will continue to accept Gift Card donations that will be distributed among the families.
DeCiccos Family Market is also accepting and matching donations for food and groceries for the families. For other donation inquiries (furniture, etc) contact Luisa or Danielle at DeCiccos.
Gift cards (Amex, Visa, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, etc.) can be sent to PCRT, c/o Huguenot Memorial Church, Send a check to PCRT in behalf of these families. Designate whether you want to donate as cash OR in the form of gift cards, which PCRT will then purchase and distribute. Please send check to PCRT, c/o Huguenot Memorial Church, 901 Pelhamdale Ave., Pelham, NY 10803. Note in memo line, “for Beechwood Ave Fire Victims.”
For further information, contact PCRT members Kathie O’Callaghan (kathieo55) or Beja Keyser, beja123

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Huguenot Memorial Church | 901 Pelhamdale Ave | Pelham | NY | 10803

Pelham Community Relief Team (PCRT), along with DeCicco Family Markets, is facilitating immediate assistance for the families of Tuesday night’s fire on Beechwood Ave. in Mt. Vernon where 19 members of three families lost much of their homes and contents in the raging fire.

Below are suggestions on how to help make this tragedy a little more bearable for our neighbors:

  1. Donate gift cards, noting amount, so that residents can purchase what they need. PCRT will distribute to the families. (Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Home Depot, local restaurants, American Express/Visa/Mastercard, etc.)
  2.  Make a donation in behalf on the families to the food bank set up for victims at Decicco Family Markets. Decicco will match dollar for dollar gift cards purchased at their markets to the families! In other words, the recipient will receive a $40 gift card for food at DeCicco Markets for your donation of $20!
  3. Send a check to PCRT in behalf of these families, designating whether you want to donate as cash OR in the form of gift cards, which PCRT will then purchase and distribute. Please send check to PCRT, c/o Huguenot Memorial Church, 901 Pelhamdale Ave., Pelham, NY 10803. Specifying in memo line, “for Beechwood Ave Fire Victims.”

Gift card donations should also be sent to PCRT at Huguenot Church address. (see above)

Thank you for help in reaching out to these neighbors in need.

For additional information or questions, contact PCRT members

Kathie O’Callaghan or Beja Keyser.


Beja Keyser for PCRT

The Pelham Community Relief Team supports this effort.  Please consider helping.
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To all our friends and supporters,Along with the rest of the country, here at Family-to-Family we are heartbroken over this week’s horrific events in Boston. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bombing victims and their families.
It’s a hard moment for us to ask you to remember the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but the truth is that countless families are still suffering so much that we’ve decided to reach out to you, even at this difficult time.It’s been almost six months since the hurricane hit, and thousands of the poorest storm victims are still living in hotels, or just returning home to sparsely furnished apartments and bare cupboards.
We feel it’s critical to help these hardest-hit families.
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So working with our on-site partners to identify the most needy, we’ve launched an effort to restock kitchen cupboards with the basics. As mothers ourselves, we know how far a stocked pantry and an aroma-filled kitchen can go towards making a home feel like “home” again.Together with Peapod, the online grocery service, we’ve put together “Comforts of Home Welcome Home Boxes” filled with essential food staples for those most in need of help.Our hope is to bring back the scents and tastes and feelings of home, and at the same time replenish cupboards with items that are hard to afford when money is tight.
Please help us help!!
For a donation of $62, a “Comforts of Home” box will be delivered by Peapod (they are waiving delivery fees) to one struggling family.
It’s an easy and meaningful way to make a difference, and to let Sandy victims know they haven’t been forgotten!
Each box/bag for a family returning home will be filled with flour, sugar, herbs and spices, olive oil, oatmeal, bread crumbs, black beans, peanut butter and jelly, rice, pasta, condiments and more.
Want to do more? Check off the box on the donation form to add a “Clean-up” box, filled with household cleaning supplies.

Wonderfully, your donation of $62 will actually provide two families with boxes, because each donated box will be matched by either Peapod or the NYC chapter of WGIRLS. We’ll use the matched funds to purchase “hotel boxes” filled with easy to prepare foods for the many families that are still in hotels.

One last thing…. So many of you shared our story when we launched our first Hurricane Sandy relief effort in November; we’re hoping you’ll do it again now! Please help us spread the word about our effort by circulating this link through email or social media, so many hundreds of families can be helped. Thanks in advance for your support!

All best,
Pam Koner & the Family-to-Family Team

Family-to-Family, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Visit http://www.family-to-family.org or email welcomehome@family-to-family.org.

PCRT Sends Volunteers to Breezy Point to Begin Rebuilding

Volunteers from the Pelham Community Relief Team (PCRT) organized a Weekend Work Relief Trip to Breezy Point on Saturday, January 19th. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Westchester, participants included Andy Collens, Bill Hoare, Rusty Pederson and Eric Smith.

Working with other volunteers, including AmeriCorps, the teams spent the day at two homes doing preparatory demo, new framing and some drywall – all as a beginning for the reconstruction from the damage done by Hurricane Sandy. The two homes were already mold remediated, and had a new floor structure and plywood subfloor installed. The goal is to advance the framing of these homes so that the electrical, plumbing and heating can be installed – followed by the insulation and the balance of sheetrock – and then returning owners (who have been temporarily displaced) to their homes. There is much to be done, but it is a start!

Future PCRT Weekend Work Relief Trips will continue to focus on rebuilding efforts. The work will favor teams that have one or two people with construction experience to lead the others in the event there is no Habitat or AmeriCorps leader available. Volunteers who have carpentry and building experience are needed as Team Leaders. It has become apparent that tools are in short supply. If you have your own carpentry and/or power tools, it would be beneficial to bring them along. Going to a site as fully prepared to work as possible is a huge asset.

These trips will leave from the Huguenot Church parking lot at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday. To volunteer for a Weekend Work Relief Trip, please sign up on the PCRT website (https://pelhamcommunityrelief.org/) and click on the “Volunteer” option. Knowing as far in advance as possible how many volunteers the PCRT can provide is helpful to the agencies on site when planning particular jobs for us. If you are available to volunteer on any upcoming Weekend Work Relief Trip, please sign up early. And don’t forget to ask your friends to join you; many hands make light work!

The next trip, planned for Saturday, January 26th, will be led by Rusty Pederson. Future trips are planned for February 2nd, led by Syd Thayer, and February 9th, led by Eric Smith. To volunteer, log on to https://pelhamcommunityrelief.org/ and click on the “Volunteer” option to sign up for a date. If you have questions, contact Eric Smith via e-mail at esmith@ericjsmitharchitect.com.

PCRT – Hurricane Sandy Relief: 2013 – The Next Chapter

In just over eight weeks, the PCRT has helped address the urgent needs of people living in the hurricane-affected communities of Howard Beach, the Rockaways, Breezy Point and even Coney Island! Volunteers brought Thanksgiving dinners, holiday decorations, gifts, gift cards and participated in a Christmas party. From Pelhamites, as well as people from across the country, the PCRT has received and delivered thousands of dollars worth of donated cleaning supplies, diapers, canned goods, new clothes, water, health and hygiene products, socks, demolition supplies and custom-designed, blazing-orange PCRT work pinnies! Thanks to over 120 volunteers, the PCRT has made 13 work relief trips to assist homeowners in the Rockaways and Breezy Point muck out and remove damaged portions of their flood-ravaged homes.

In Phase 2, we are shifting the focus of our activities from mucking out to rebuilding efforts in the Rockaways and Breezy Point. We are planning to offer expanded hands-on volunteer opportunities for families, students and individuals both during the week and on weekends.

Work Relief Trips Continuing With New Focus and a Wider Variety of Hands-On Assistance in Affected Areas

PCRT volunteers will assist organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, and work will include installing new insulation, drywall and finish materials to help victims of Sandy move closer to regaining the use of their homes. Any special skills in basic carpentry, framing, sheet rocking, taping and wood flooring installation, etc. are helpful – but not required. Other activities will include ongoing exterior clean up of the yard, streets and parks.

These trips will leave from the Huguenot Church parking lot at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings. To volunteer for a work trip, visit the PCRT website (https://pelhamcommunityrelief.org/) and click on the “Volunteer” option. If you have questions about the work relief trips, please contact Eric Smith via e-mail at esmith@ericjsmitharchitect.com. Important Note: We are looking for three additional team leaders in the volunteer/work relief section.

Expanded Volunteer Opportunities

The PCRT coordinating team is in the process of finalizing details for additional help in these communities, and we plan to offer less physical labor and work suitable for teens. Stay tuned for information about common space/parks cleanup, distribution of donations, on-site event volunteer opportunities and more.

Donations Focus Changing

As we focus on rebuilding, there will be a shift in donation needs. In the coming days, we will have a list of materials related to our rebuilding efforts, so don’t throw away your leftover sheet rock, cement, tape, etc. Stay tuned in the coming days and weeks for a more complete list of needed items.

Your Family Can Adopt a Hurricane-Impacted Family!

Family-to-Family (F2F), a non-profit organization, is continuing to match sponsoring families with hurricane-affected families. They are identifying affected families through community organizers who have “boots on the ground” in the most devastated areas. These families each complete a questionnaire, identifying their most needed items. F2F will then assign two sponsoring families to each affected family. You are asked to send what you can (there are no specific expectations… do as much as you are able/comfortable doing), and coordinate with your co-sponsor to see what items/resources each person can provide. Sponsoring families are encouraged to reach out to their sponsored family as their needs and situations are continuously changing and evolving.

For additional information, contact Helen Brown at hurricanesandyf2f@gmail.com, or call her at (914) 419-7840. The F2F web address is http://www.family-to-family.org/2012/11/family-to-family-hurricane-sandy-relief-effort/.

If you know of someone who would like to be included on our mailing list, please contact (or have them contact directly) Julia Coss at chandnirose@yahoo.com. If you would like to “opt out” of these ongoing e-mail communication updates, please reply directly to Julia, who will remove your name form our list.

Updated information about the ongoing relief efforts of the PCRT is available on our website at https://pelhamcommunityrelief.org/.