I am just back from a visit to my girls and the grandkids in New Jersey. I had’t been east for six months and it was my first since Superstorm Sandy.
I’ve spent hours pouring over the photos of places that were part of my every day scenery and my every day routines in the 30 + summers I spent with my family at the Jersey Shore. I found every one of them positively horrifying.
Having that time together at the beach was a great experience for my kids and me and before I moved to California, some of the grandchildren were old enough to start enjoying some of the things we’d done with their parents at that same age. Now, almost all of those places are completely gone or so severely damaged it will be years before things are back. But I know my Jersey friends and it will come back.
I chose this as the topic for my blog today because while I was back in the Garden State, my middle daughter, who lives just ten minutes from the ocean, took me to lunch at a place we like near her beach club. On the way there, we went through Sea Bright, one of the many small towns that dot the shoreline.
Seeing the pictures and seeing the actual devastation there are so completely different I don’t even know how to describe it.
When someone asked me how extensive it was (and this was the only area I saw; the town where our beach house was is barely accessible even now, and then you must prove you are a homeowner there) the only way I could describe what had happened was to tell them to picture a three mile stretch of the PCH, which is also lined with shops, restaurants, bars, etc. the way Sea Bright was, completely destroyed. Mile after mile of buildings that look like they were bombed now boarded up, with only broken windows, mounds of sand still in front. We passed innumerable empty lots where homes had been and now stood only a foundation. She pointed out where the National Guard had been camped, where there had been piles of mattresses, sofas, all sorts of destroyed personal belongings left to be picked up and dumped, where there had been a mountain of other miscellaneous debris. Entire beach clubs, the source of many happy days for so many other Jersey families, have just – disappeared.
I don’t want us to forget now that the havoc Sandy wreaked upon the east coast is no longer front-page news here on the west coast. I was trying to think how to help again and I thought it couldn’t hurt to once again post the contact information for those organizations who are directly involved in the recovery effort. I’ve also included a video by a young man I knew when he was a child who now lives in LA, but went back to help his home state begin the rebuild. As I watched it, once again my heart wrenched as I recognized so many very familiar places and even homes I got to know on my frequent long walks that are now no longer.
You can help:
The Red Cross
All donations to the Red Cross provide food, shelter, and other assistance to those affected by Sandy. Visit www.redcross.org or call 800.RED.CROSS to help. Text “Redcross” to 90999 to give $10. During Sandy’s assault, 100 Red Cross blood-donation events in the affected regions were canceled, so blood supply is low. If you are in NYD, to schedule an appointment to give blood, call The New York Blood Center at 800.933.2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has set up feeding units and shelters across the disaster zone. To assist their efforts in providing clothing, food, and beds to the displaced, visit www.salvationarmyusa.org. You can also donate $10 to the Salvation Army by texting “STORM” to 80888
New Jersey relief
The gambling mecca of Atlantic City and much of New Jersey’s popular shoreline have been severely damaged. Volunteers are being coordinated through an emergency response hotline, 1.800.JERSEY7 ( 1.800.537.7397). Alternate numbers, should you have trouble getting through, are 609.775.5236 and 908.303.0471.
The Feeding America network of food banks and agencies is delivering truckloads of food, water and supplies to communities in need, through its network of more than 200 food banks and the agencies it serves. Its food banks will also set up additional emergency distribution sites as they are needed. It is anticipated that roughly 25-30 food banks will be impacted by this storm. In times of disaster, Feeding America supports immediate and long-term recovery for individuals and families in need of food assistance. Learn more here.
The Los Angeles-based international relief agency will provide emergency aid to Cuba and Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Operation USA will provide access to safe water and support for clinics and hospitals and assess shelter, safe water, food and other needs. Learn more here or donate by phone at 1.800.678.7255, by check made out to Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036. Text AID to 50555 and donate $10 to Operation USA’s disaster relief efforts.
Direct Relief has placed seven hurricane preparedness packs in the Caribbean, each containing medicine and supplies to treat a variety of traumatic and chronic conditions that can support 5,000 people for a month. Packs have also been placed along the U.S. East Coast including 300 clinical partners along the storm’s projected path. Direct Relief works with 70 countries to provide disaster relief and preparedness during the most critical hours after a natural disaster.
Save The Children
Save The Children provides child-friendly space kits, including diapers and hygiene items. The organization also maintains a U.S. Emergencies Fund, that allow for disaster planning, emergency preparedness, response and recovery work and psychological support. Save the Children says it’s committed to the same level of support for the impending storm. Learn more here.
Team Rubicon, which utilizes the skills of military veterans to assist in responding to and recovering from natural disasters, has teams of highly skilled military veterans working with local authorities preparing to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in communities from Washington, D.C., to Boston. In New York City, Team Rubicon veterans are assisting the city’s mobile assessment teams as well as coordinating joint operations in the city’s Emergency Operations Center. This not only provides a skilled and motivated work force, but provides a new mission for America’s veterans, allowing them to continue to serve here at home and abroad. Learn more here.
Samaritan’s Purse is helping victims of Hurricane Sandy at three locations in New Jersey and have established bases in Atlantic, Bergen, and Ocean Counties, areas that were hard hit by the superstorm. If you live in the east, they need volunteers. You can volunteer by going here: http://spvolunteernetwork.org/projects/hurricane-sandy-response.aspx and to learn more about this organization’s work, go here: http://www.samaritanspurse.org
NYCService – for my NY friends
World Vision, a Christian humanitarian relief organization, is bringing necessary supplies, including food kits, hygiene kits, blankets and tarps, to those in need in New York City. Learn more here.
New York Blood Center
The New York Blood Center is calling for donations to prevent any shortages after the storm hits. The organization is working with local hospitals to make sure it have adequate supply. The center needs at least 2,000 donations a day to maintain the center’s blood inventory. Learn more here.
Every little bit helps!!!