Coney Island Resilience Mural at PS 329: 11/2/13

It was a joy for us in Manhattan’s Lower East Side to collaborate and support the work of Coney Island Gospel Assembly in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. We join them now is celebrating their achievement, along with 20/20 Vision for Schools and other community partners, in mobilizing 250 students to help design and 350 volunteers to help execute the Coney Island Resilience Mural at PS 329. Saturday, 11/2/13, is the ribbon cutting for the mural. They need volunteers from 11-5 to set-up (11-1), staff the event (1-4), and then clean up (4-5).


A Great Day in the Neighborhood

Instagram photo by @JeremyDelRio

5,000 friends and neighbors joined us for Refresh on July 27, a backyard BBQ block party that brought tangible blessing to Alphabet City.

This brief report and thank you includes comments from each of Refresh’s lead partners, key stakeholders and performers, and photos and multimedia reports from the afternoon. Special thanks to Mercy Chefs and Turkey Hill, who provided over 5,000 hot meals and 6,500 servings of ice cream and ice tea to the neighborhood.

Photo Gallery

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Video Recap

From Pastor Rick Del Rio, Abounding Grace

What an awesome Day. Our community was refreshed. Thank you Father for a perfect day and for your love and grace that was lived out in your children. Thank you Abounding Grace Church, Trinity Grace Church, Metropolitan Faith Church, Mercy Chefs and Turkey Hill for sponsoring the Event. And a special thank you to Mercy Chefs and Turkey Hill for coming so far to love our people and being so generous. Thank you Pastor Guy, Pastor Steve, Pastor Lou, Jeremy, Diana, Raquel and Liza, for your leadership in planning and executing. You all did and awesome job with excellence. Thank you to all the cooks and servers. Wow, you did an amazing work. Thank you to all the performers and DJ’s and dancers who so graciously came and provided entertainment for the day. Thank you to all the volunteers who were there for set up, breakdown and cleaning. Thank you AV Sound for your professionalism, great equipment and hard work. Thank you to our friends in the Ninth Precinct and PSA 4 who were present and did everything they could to facilitate what we needed both in security, permits and presence. We pray for God’s bountiful blessings and provision for all of you.

After 30+ years of serving our community, we have learned the importance of teamwork. To accomplish anything great it requires people that work together, unselfishly, that are willing to do whatever is needed. You all proved that to be true. There was great joy in our community. Thank you all for the privilege of serving. We love you. It is a new day in the Lower East Side. A community transformed.

From Pastor Guy Wasko, Trinity Grace

It’s hard for me to imagine a better day than July 27th, on East 6th Street. To be honest, several times throughout the day I had to fight back the tears as the dream that we had in our hearts was becoming a reality. It’s an incredible privilege to be able to not only call the LES my home and Parish, but also to be able to serve the community in such practical and amazing ways! I want to personally thank every volunteer who sacrificed countless hours to prepare, serve and clean up so that RefreshNYC could happen. It’s incredible that only a hundred or so volunteers were able to pull off a four hour party for over 5200 people! I also want to thank every vendor, artist and supporting partner that turned out to contribute their expertise! From the NYPD 9th Precinct and PSA 4 to Mercy Chefs and the Sound Engineers to DJ Trase & DJ Ted Smooth to Papote, we couldn’t have done it without you.

The Lower East Side has gone through some large changes over the years. But one thing you can count on, we will stick together in good and bad and we know how to party! I’m committed to doing my part in making sure that both keep happening well in this neighborhood for years to come! I can’t wait until the next RefreshNYC event! May laughter, beauty, friendship, diversity, hope and love continue to live on in the LES!

From Pastor Steven Dilla, Metropolitan Faith Church

“I’ve lived here my whole life,” said a 43 year-old resident of the housing projects on New York City’s Lower East Side, “and this is the best thing anyone has ever done for us.”

This past Saturday we threw a party just blocks from where our Sandy Recovery site operated nine months ago. Because as Christians we want to make our city better all the time—not just in times of difficulty.

As with Sandy, we had the opportunity to partner with our friends at Abounding Grace, Trinity Grace to do something as the Church in New York that none of us could do on our own. Mercy Chefs returned to the city, the inaugural trip for a brand new mobile kitchen, serving a free meal to over 5,000 people at our party.

DJ’s, poets, dancers, and bands from the neighborhood showed up to celebrate the beauty and friendship that we want to define our city.

It was an opportunity that is far too rare. Emily saw one family leave their 6 and 9 year old in line for a bounce house, run up to their apartment and retrieve their camera and video camera, and return to capture an experience their children rarely get.

We had the opportunity to live the good news of Christ in word and deed: to serve our neighbors, connect to the heart of our neighborhood, share the “why” behind our actions, and to pray with many (from the stage and individually).

And when the party was over, we were able to donate a (very full) van of food to the Bowery Mission for use with the city’s homeless in the coming weeks.

For many, this party was a reminder that Christians care about their city—and that we want to see people thrive. And that’s compelling. Our number one request from people in the neighborhood was that they would be able to volunteer the next time we throw a party.

From DJ Trase


Social Media Links

Refresh Volunteer Registration


Refresh Volunteer Registration is open. Join us to celebrate beauty and friendship in our neighborhood!

Sign Up Here to Volunteer at Refresh

Help transform East 6th Street into a backyard BBQ. We’ll be rolling out astroturf, setting up tables, loading in a stage, prepping food and canvasing the neighborhood with club cards and flyers.

The weather looks beautiful for Saturday, and we want every person to feel a warm welcome as they enter the party. Help greet people as they enter, serve food, clean tables, and create a refreshing atmosphere during the party. (There is an early shift and a late shift available.)

After the party is over it’s time to return the neighborhood better than we found it. Help load trucks, take down tables, and clean up.

Sign Up Here to Volunteer at Refresh

NYC Loves OKC: Grace in Tornadoes Too


UPDATE, June 3: THANK YOU for extravagantly supporting our friends at Somebody Cares as they support those devastated by Tornadoes throughout the Midwest. In all, we raised $6,000 from your generosity over two weeks.


When Superstorm Sandy ravaged our neighborhood and City, the generosity of strangers and neighbors alike demonstrated Grace in the Storm and carried us through unprecedented times. It’s our turn to support those in Texas and Oklahoma devastated by the tornadoes this week.

The Grace in the Storm partner churches will be receiving special offerings each of the next two Sundays to support Somebody Cares America’s (SCA) response to the tornadoes. SCA was the first ministry to provide relief supply trucks to our community within twenty-four hours of Sandy, and connected NY/NJ to many resource partners throughout the Sandy relief effort, including emergency supplies, hot food, winter coats, and cash. They have similarly been on the ground in Texas and Oklahoma since the tornadoes touched down. You can read a field update of their work here:


It is our privilege to support SCA’s work responding to the tornadoes as they supported us following Sandy. Contribute extravagantly online here:

All financial donations are tax deductible and will be utilized 100% to support the tornado relief efforts in Texas and Oklahoma through Somebody Cares America. Donate online by clicking on the image above, or by mail c/o:

Abounding Grace Ministries
P.O. Box 20340
New York, NY 10009

Thank you for continuing to model Grace in the Storm.

PS 34 Holiday Pep Rally and Toy Giveaway

Enjoy photos from PS 34′s first ever pep rally on December 21, 2012, celebrating the school’s overall “A” rating, its central role in relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy, the basketball team’s sponsored uniforms and warm-up suits, holiday toys for all 420 students, and much more! Sponsored by Abounding Grace Ministries and 20/20 Vision for Schools.

Event Photos

Watch the “PS 34 Hall of Fame” slideshow presented at the pep rally.

Creating New Memories One Toy at a Time

On Friday, December 21, Grace in the Storm will distribute toys to all 420 students at PS 34 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side from 12-2.

Located at the corner of Avenue D and 12th Street, PS 34 is the school one block south of the Con Edison plant that exploded during Sandy causing the Manhattan power outage, and served as the staging area for much of our Sandy relief efforts last month. A kindergarten through eighth grade school, PS 34 received an overall “A” score from the City in October after six years of incremental improvements that began in 2006. That alone would be reason to celebrate the school, but combined with its central role in relief efforts following the storm, it’s a special joy to honor PS 34 this year. Volunteers will assist parents and teachers in visiting every elementary school classroom, and will also produce a student assembly for the entire middle school.

A donor from Colorado initiated the toy drive on behalf of PS 34 after following the efforts of Grace in the Storm via Facebook. Her family’s generosity multiplied many times over to include three North Carolina churches, Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and The Legacy Center in Queens, resulting in not only toys for PS 34, but also a nearby homeless shelter and the devastated communities of South Beach and Midland Beach in Staten Island.

The truck from North Carolina loaded with thousands of new toys arrives in Staten Island on Friday afternoon for a Saturday distribution at 300 Father Capodano Boulevard.


  1. When: Friday, 12/21, 11:30-2:30
    Where: PS 34 (Avenue D and 12th Street), Manhattan
    Contact: Stephanie Curry, 719-213-0771
    What: Toy distribution via classroom visits and Middle School Assembly
  2. When: Friday afternoon, 12/21, and Saturday all day, 12/22
    Where: 300 Father Capodano Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10305
    Contact: Steven Martino, 718-812-9894
    What: Toy and clothing distribution

Photos of PS 34 Gift Wrapping Party, 12/19/12

Compassionate Crisis Care Training: Coming 1/10-12

Grace in the Storm partners Somebody Cares America and New York Christian Resource Center present three crisis care training opportunities for community leaders and pastors on January 10, 11, and 12.

Seminar Topics Include:

          • Grief & Trauma in the Short and Long-Term
          • Verbal First Aid
          • Children and Stress
          • Leadership in Times of Crisis
          • Caring for the Care Giver

Find Out More About the FREE Upcoming Trainings:

New Jersey, January 10th, 2013

New York, January 11th, 2013

New York, January 12th, 2013

Register Here!

Thursday, January 10th – Jackson, NJ

Friday, January 11th – Astoria, NY

Saturday, January 12th – Staten Island, NY

Volunteer Opportunities for NEXT 5 DAYS! @ BREEZE POINT

Operation Blessing needs YOUR Help to prepare for the “Breezy Point Christmas Tree Lighting & Santa’s Workshop.”
This will be the FIRST large community event since the storm.

Volunteers Needed Tuesday – Friday (Dec. 10th – 14th): (1 or 2 shifts per day available. Please arrive 15 mins. before each shift and meet at the Christmas Tree at the Breezy Point Stores located at 202-30 Rockaway Pt. Blvd in Breezy Point, NY.)
8:30 AM – 1:00 PM & 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Volunteers will be assembling shelves, unloading trucks full of brand new toys, stocking shelves with toys, and wrapping gifts!

Friday Night Wrapping Party
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: We will be wrapping gifts for the children.

Saturday – EVENT DAY
8:30 AM – 1:00 PM (Wrapping Gifts and Stocking Shelves with Toys)
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Wrapping Gifts and Stocking Shelves with Toys)
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM (Event)

**Those helping with the event need to be at a logistics meeting at 2:00 PM at the “Ages Birth – 5″ Tent.

Public Contact
QUESTIONS: Please call our volunteer coordinator, Jen Wakefield at 757.374.0944 or via email at