It has been nearly a month since Superstorm Sandy swept across the East Coast, and many of the needs along the shore’s towns are shifting. Families are finally moving back into their homes, and business establishments are slowly but surely opening up shop again. Local schools, churches and fire companies have combined donations, enabling institutions to proceed as usual.
|Photo via American Red Cross|
Volunteers from across the nation have deployed to
New Jersey to aid victims of Superstorm Sandy.
The American Red Cross is continuing to offer its services to those along the Jersey Shore and mainland areas, but the volunteer organization’s strategies are becoming more targeted. The group is opening service centers in Thompson Hall at the First United Methodist Church of Toms River at 129 Chestnut Street, and at the main entrance of Bader Field at 545 North Albany Avenue in Atlantic City. The centers will be available for displaced residents to acquire meals and disaster supplies and meet with caseworkers to begin their individual recovery planning. They will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 1, and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2. Those seeking help should bring some proof of their pre-disaster address, such as an ID, power bill, or cable bill. If people cannot get to either of the service delivery sites, they can call their local chapter, or dial 1-800-RED-CROSS.
“We’re focusing our efforts on those areas that still have urgent or unmet needs for meals, specifically individuals and families that can’t provide food for themselves,” said Laura Steinmetz, community and government relations officer of the American Red Cross South Jersey Region.
Bulk distribution is still being offered across the state, but MREs (meals ready to eat) are replacing the hot meals that were being prepared by the Southern Baptist Convention. The Georgia-based conference provided 4 million cooked meals to residents in New Jersey following the storm, but returned home this past Sunday after the numbers of those in need declined. Last week, the Red Cross hosted more than 100 feeding trucks in the state. At one point, the organization provided more than 300 feeding trucks.
For many LBI residents, the Red Cross volunteers who set up camp in front of Grace Calvary Church on the Boulevard at 19th Street in Ship Bottom immediately following the Island’s re-admittance procedure has been a welcomed relief. Hot meals, cleaning supplies and comfort items, including teddy bears, fresh towels and even ice cream have made all the difference during the tough recovery process. The Red Cross is still providing search and serve opportunities along the Island, especially in Holgate, which just opened up permanently to its residents on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
“If people in New Jersey don’t see the Red Cross in their neighborhood and still believe there is an urgent need for meals, please call 211 so the Red Cross and our community partners can identify where needs still exist,” Steinmetz urged.
This article was published in The SandPaper.