Free tree cutting service available for elderly, disabled

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Elderly and disabled residents across Atlantic County will be able to receive some free assistance in cutting down trees that fell in the June 30 storm beginning Saturday, July 21.

 Two faith-based groups, Mormon Helping Hands and United Methodist Church, will be dispatching volunteers to the area to help cut down and remove debris from properties of residents who are unable to do the work themselves, according to Cathy McCann, vice president of operations for the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and member of the New Jersey Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters.

“We have been coordinating with the groups and anyone who needs assistance can call 211 and register. The volunteers are going to try and help as many as possible,” she said.

Those in need of assistance, should first call 211, ext. 21, according to member Aaron Titus. “Someone will ask for verification that they are elderly or disabled and will take down basic information like their address. Then, someone from the organizations will call back, identify themselves and set up a time.”

Titus said there are already 150 volunteers that will be sent out into Atlantic and Cumberland Counties to assist on Saturday, July 21. The volunteers will continue to work through Aug. 18 free of charge and using only their own tools and equipment.

“We hope to make a big difference,” Titus said. “We want to help as many people as we can. The volunteers will cut the tree, and haul the wood to the side. The resident can then decide what they want to do with it.”

Titus warned to beware of scams, that no one from 211 would be calling individual residents. “The residents have to call us to initiate the service, and no one will call you to solicit the service and no one on 211 will ever ask for financial information.”

He also noted that the Mormon volunteers will be wearing yellow shirts or vests as a way to be identified.

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