future hope union beach 2PHOTO:  Representatives from A Future With Hope, The American Red Cross, and the Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group present the Yurgelonis family with a playhouse built by volunteers. 

Bobbie Ridgely, Director of A Future with Hope; Anna Yurgelonis;  Nancy Orlando, American Red Cross, Charlie Yurgelonis; Bishop John Schol, United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey; Eric Nedelkoff, Director of Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group

Photos by Paul Guba.  

Union Beach, NJ –   Anna and Charlie Yurgelonis and their family have settled into a rebuilt home in Hazlet after Sandy destroyed their Brook Avenue home 20 months ago in Union Beach. 


Their recovery process has been more difficult than most because at the time of the storm the Yurgelonis household included 9 foster children, 5 adopted children and regular visits from grandchildren of the more than 100 foster children the family has sheltered over the years.  Immediately after the storm, the Yurgelonis family made headlines in regional papers and were featured in the 2013 film documentary Shored Up because of the total devastation their unique family experienced.  A short video of the family and their story can be viewed here  vimeo.com/88371595

During the last 20 months, the family had to be split up.  They stayed with various relatives and eventually rented a small house in Matawan.  They ultimately purchased a home in Hazlet that was in need of repair. 

A Future With Hope started working with the family in February to renovate the home, to create safe living and sleeping space for the large extended family and to bring the house up to building code, which included electrical, and plumbing work.  To complete the repairs, A Future With Hope relied on funding on funding from The American Red Cross, Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group, United Methodist Committee on Relief and the Robin Hood Foundation.

“Our partnerships with other non-profit organizations help make recovery possible,” says Bobbie Ridgely, Director of A Future With Hope, “There are thousands of more people who need help with construction and we continue to look for ways to work with our partners to reach all of them.”

A Future With Hope estimates that it will take more than 3,800 hours of volunteer labor to complete the project.  To date volunteers have come from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and NJ. 

On Thursday, June 26, key members from ARC, MCLTRG and AFWH met with the Yurgelonis family to celebrate their recovery.  Attending representatives included:  Bobbie Ridgely, Director of A Future With Hope; Bishop John Schol of the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey; Nancy Orlando, Regional CEO, American Red Cross South Jersey Region; and Eric Nedelkoff, Director of Monmouth County Long Term Recovery Group.  Together they presented the family with a volunteer-built play house for Anna and Charlie’s children and grandchildren. 

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“Recovery from a storm the size of Sandy requires the help and collaboration from many non-profit, agency and government partners working together,” says Nancy Orlando of the American Red Cross.  “We are proud to work with A Future with Hope and continue to help many New Jersey families return home.”  

About A Future With Hope:  

A Future With Hope is a nonprofit organization started by the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey to lead relief and recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy.  Volunteers come from all over the United States to rebuild homes.  The organization’s goal is to use 20,000 volunteers to help rebuild 300 to 500 homes and provide case management to affected families.  

A Future with Hope has completed more than 50 homes and will have more than 100 homes rebuilt by the end of 2014.  They have completed work in 21 different communities including Atlantic City, Brick, Forked River, Highlands, Keansburg, Little Egg Harbor, Manahawkin, Ocean Gate, Union Beach and others.  They have 15 host sites that can house 350 volunteers from out of state each week.  To date, they have hosted more than 6,500 volunteers from 37 states.  For more information please visit afuturewithhope.org.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.