Church members assist Rockaway families

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Wilton joined with thousands of other members from the tri-state area to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy this past weekend. They went to the hardest-hit locations, including Staten Island and the Rockaway area of Queens.

As part of Mormon congregations from Northern Westchester County and the Connecticut coast from Westport to Greenwich, the Wilton contingent joined an estimated 700 men, women and young adults who traveled by bus with an array of tools to primarily remove drywall, insulation, flooring, furniture, and appliances. In some cases they excavated large accumulations of sand from flooded homes to prevent the growth of mold. This activity follows last week's massive service project in the Washington Village section of South Norwalk.

According to Jack McFadden, a member of the Wilton contingent, the group started at their meeting house Sunday morning after partaking of the sacrament following an opening hymn — Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel — whose words include the "need of helping hands, and hearts that know and feel."

Mr. McFadden, who is an area hurricane specialist for the church, said, "We are grateful for the opportunity to follow the example of Jesus Christ by serving others. The Helping Hands program strives to not only assist with immediate physical needs but to also lift spirits."

A hotline number for those in need has been set up to request assistance, without charge, to help not only flood victims but also to cut fallen trees and for clean-up made necessary by Hurricane Sandy. The number is 347-709-0438.