Hurricane Sandy Relief Information

Disaster Chaplaincy Services

12/11/12, Submitted by Jay Pacitti - Executive Director

Q 1:   What is the approximate dollar amount of donations and pledges that
          your organization has received to date in response to Hurricane Sandy?

A 1:    $8,803 in donations; no pledges have been received.

Q 2:   Will these funds be used solely for Hurricane Sandy relief? If not,
          approximately what portion will be used for Hurricane Sandy relief and
          what other purposes will funds be used for?

A 2:    Yes, we expect that these donations will be used solely for Hurricane Sandy relief.

Q 3:   Approximately how much has your organization spent to date on Hurricane
          Sandy relief?

A 3:    To date, DCS has spent $1,456 on Hurricane Sandy relief. Additional expenses and
          staffing costs of at least $3,000 are expected to accrue before the end ofthis month.

Q 4:   What services has your organization provided to those affected by Hurricane
          Sandy? What populations or geographical areas are being served by your
          organization in response to Hurricane Sandy? What services does it expect to
          provide in the future?

A 4:    Disaster Chaplaincy Services is a nonsectarian, multi-faith organization whose purpose
          is to assure skilled and appropriate interdisciplinary spiritual care and chaplaincy
          for all people affected by disasters, crises, and emergencies in the New York
          tri-state area.
          Providing spiritual care in response to disasters is a unique job that requires
          special skills and training. In a city as diverse as New York, it is critical for DCS
          to be able to respond to the needs of victims who may come from one of many different
          faith traditions - - or be of no faith. DCS does not promote any particular religious
          practice. Chaplains responding to disasters are a presence; they look out for what
          people need and listen when they want to tell their story.
          DCS' disaster chaplains represent over 25 denominations and major faith traditions and
          are able to speak more than 28 languages. Our disaster chaplains are trained and
          credentialed, and are prepared to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
          Volunteers are required to complete an application and undergo an extensive screening
          interview. Applicants must have a written endorsement from their faith tradition,
          which must be a recognized body. In addition, we conduct a national criminal
          background check, and ask the applicant to sign our code of ethics, which includes an
          agreement not to proselytize during a response and recovery effort.
          All chaplains who volunteer with DCS are trained to effectively deliver services in
          times of disaster. Services provided to disaster survivors include spiritual and
          psychological first aid, crisis support to help people draw on their own spiritual
          resources in loss, spiritual care that respects the broad nature of each person's
          spiritual response and attends to the human search for meaning in times of loss, and
          peer support to mitigate compassion fatigue and burnout.
          DCS is actively involved in the Hurricane Sandy response and recovery efforts in the
          tristate region. Day-to-day operations during the response have included maintaining
          contact with City agencies involved in the response such as the Office of Emergency
          Management. DCS also remains in close contact with the American Red Cross, the New
          York City chapter of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NYC VOAD), and
          individual VOAD partner groups.
          Since late October, we have deployed more than 50 individual disaster chaplains to
          dozens of locations in New York City, Westchester County, Long Island, Bergen County,
          NJ and Fairfield County, CT. Most have engaged in multiple deployments. We have also
          been aiding partner agencies so that all aid workers in the area can continue
          supporting storm victims in this time of high stress and quick burnout. We are
          continuing to deploy chaplains in response to requests from multiple partners in the
          The catastrophic impact of Hurricane Sandy requires an increase in our capacity to
          respond to requests for chaplains. Not only is there a vastly increased need, but our
          volunteer ranks have been reduced because many of our chaplains live in affected
          areas, and either they or their congregants have themselves been impacted by the
          storm. We are therefore screening and training new chaplains at this time.
          Moreover, we are working with other agencies to create and deliver "care for the
          caregiver" workshops as well as crisis response trainings for local faith leaders. We
          are continuing to develop and implement ways to respond as the nature of the recovery
          efforts evolve.

Q 5:   Has your organization provided funding to other organizations for Hurricane
          Sandy relief efforts? If so, which organizations have received those funds
          and what is the approximate dollar amount provided to them? How does
          your organization determine the need for funding?

A 5:    No.

Q 6:   Has your organization provided, or does it intend to provide, direct financial
          assistance to individuals, families or businesses for Hurricane Sandy relief?
          If so, what is the approximate dollar amount that your organization
          has provided to date and approximately how much direct financial assistance
          does it expect to provide in the future? How does your organization
          determine the need for assistance?

A 6:    No.

Q 7:   Does your organization have a plan in place on how to use any surplus funds
          not spent for Hurricane Sandy relief? If so, please describe that plan.

A 7:    In the event that surplus donations are received, they will be used both (a) to
          recruit and train additional disaster chaplains in the NYC area so that DCS will
          continue to be able to respond to large events such as this one, and (b) to provide
          local faith leaders with crisis intervention and congregational preparedness training.
          All of this training will lead to increased preparedness in NYC for events similar to
          Hurricane Sandy.

[back to top]