A member of the Community Emergency Response Team assists an injured woman
Main Content

New Jersey Seniors Prepare Disaster Kits for Neighbors

June 2016

program logoAfter a successful 2015 event, volunteers in Essex and Hudson Counties working to build 1,200 kits in 2016

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented destruction along the East Coast of the United States. Hudson County, NJ, was among the worst affected areas in the state, with thousands losing power, numerous personal injuries, hundreds of fallen trees, and a gasoline shortage. Determined to move forward, Hudson County formed several key partnerships to continue to build a safer, stronger community, working with organizations like the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which funds AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.

On April 22, 2015, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Center of Essex and Hudson Counties, a program of Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, NJ, collaborated with the United Way of Hudson County and the Secaucus Senior Center to assemble 200 disaster kits for local homebound seniors to use in the event of future emergencies. RSVP hosted this event in support of America’s PrepareAthon!

“This project was designed to ensure the most vulnerable individuals in Secaucus are better prepared in the event of future disasters,” said Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, NJ, Reuben Rotman.

Providing a Helping Hand before Storms Strike


"Disaster preparedness is a top
priority for Retired and Senior Volunteer
Program.  The success of the event is
due to the tremendous support we
received from the community."

-- Stephanie Grove, Licensed Social
Worker and Director of the RSVP
Center of Essex & Hudson Counties

Local businesses and foundations supported RSVP
in this initiative, donating supplies for the disaster
kits, including manual can
image of RSVP volunteer preparing a disaster supply kit.
RSVP volunteer Donna Cullen packs a
disaster preparedness kit for low-income,
homebound adults.
openers, toiletries, wash cloths, adhesive bandages, reusable water bottles, first aid kits, and flashlights. RSVP volunteers added informational items from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as magnets with local emergency telephone numbers and event-specific emergency contact lists.  RSVP volunteers loved the idea of building emergency kits, according to Stephanie Grove, Licensed Social Worker and RSVP Director. She explained that helping others prepare for a disaster is “something the volunteers care deeply about, and they want to do whatever they can to serve their community.”

Enhancing Community Preparedness

Since the kit-making event was so well-received, RSVP was awarded a grant from The PSEG Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Public Service Enterprise Group, to host a disaster kit event in collaboration with the Unified Vailsburg Service Organization on July 21, 2016. RSVP volunteers will assemble 1,200 disaster kits and distribute them to homebound seniors in Newark, NJ.

For more information on programs and volunteer opportunities with the RSVP Center of Essex & Hudson Counties, visit www.jfsmetrowest.org/RSVP, or visit RSVP’s national website.