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Monday, November 26, 2012

An Appeal For Help On the Jersey Shore

This is a copy of the email / social media posting I am trying to get out to as many people as possible. All along the Jersey Shore, there are a great many people in serious need of everything from bleach and garbage bags to food. I've seen a lot of good come from relief organizations, but everywhere I go I encounter people who have not been helped.

Greetings All,

I’ve been doing one-on-one disaster relief coordination since the Wednesday after the storm. Last Saturday we took $500 in gift cards from Home Depot and Lowe’s and delivered them directly to homeowners and residents in Union Beach. Union Beach was hit incredibly hard by the storm surge, and some homes 6 blocks away from the Raritan Bay had upwards of 5 feet of water in them. Some homes nearer the bay were actually lifted off their foundations and carried sometimes as far as ½ a block away.

I was invited into several homes while we were handing out the cards and what you see on the outside is nothing compared to what these people are dealing with on the insides of their homes. In most cases (that we dealt with directly) homeowners haven’t received any relief funds at all as insurance companies and the holders of Federal flood insurance are arguing over whether the damage was “storm” related or “flood” related.

The bulk of the people I spoke to Saturday have lost all of their possessions because they weren’t able to react quickly enough to the storm surge that came in higher and farther than anyone anticipated. We spoke with one man who was sitting in his recliner in the dark on the evening of the storm in his house three blocks from the bay. Ten minutes after walking across a dry floor and sitting down, he got back up again and stood in ankle deep water. Fifteen minutes later the water was 7 feet high in his house. Another homeowner, 1500’ from the bay, had water up to the fifth step of the stairs to his second floor, and he, his wife, daughter and grandson were stuck on the second floor until Tuesday night. The water rose in his house in less than 10 minutes.

We’re targeting gift cards to home improvement stores so people can buy what they need, typically cleaning items, tools, and material for restoration.

I’m going back out on Saturday to deliver Target, Home Depot and Lowe’s cards to the people in Union Beach, Port Monmouth and Keyport. If anyone would like to pitch in there are people who can really use the help. A couple of dollars can be pooled to buy cards, or even one $25 card would be huge. I’m hoping to go with around $1500 in donations, so if you can help or you know others who want to pitch in, please let me know.


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