Friday, November 30, 2012

Red Cross revises outreach strategy for Sandy recovery efforts

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.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Indie artist Austin Lucas performs in NJ, donates to Sandy relief

As part of his November House Concert Tour, Indiana indie artist Austin Lucas, best known for his blend of “folk punk,” ventured from Boston, MA to Manahawkin, NJ last night to jam out in front of a small group of local fans. He was originally invited to local musician Pat Sullivan’s apartment in Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island before Superstorm Sandy paid a visit to the Jersey coast.

Instead, Sullivan’s buddies Glen Bleakley, Kyle Richard, Steve Szymanski and Mike Russell opened up their home to the group of friends who attended, saying they “had to have it somewhere.” Sullivan and local musician John Geoff also sang separately and played acoustic guitar.
Photo by Glen Bleakley
Austin Lucas gives NJ residents a break
from Sandy, by performing some of his
oldest and latest songs.
“Most of us have been playing in different bands together for years,” said Sullivan. “We’re all good friends and good musicians. That’s what’s awesome about it.”
“It’s sort of a bunch of music, surf and tattoo guys. We help each other out,” added Bleakley.
With Lucas’ blessing, the local residents said they plan to offer half of the money received from the show’s proceeds to Waves For Water, a nonprofit organization that is dedicating its resources to surf-based coastal communities in New York and New Jersey, including Long Beach Island, during its Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative.
Though Lucas claimed he was by no means a rich man, confessing it was “hard” to make a living while touring eight to 10 months out of the year, he said he was honored to donate the money to Sandy’s victims.
“It’s hard, but I’m working hard at hardly working,” Lucas stated. “I complain a lot, but I’m thankful to do what I do and to have gas in my van. Ya’ll are going through some rough stuff, and I’m happy to see ya'll have lights on and are healthy. That’s what’s important. I’m honored to be here, and I’m glad we’re all here together. So thanks for having me,” he added.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LBI Causeway Bridge undergoes erosion repairs, post-Sandy

The New Jersey Department of Transportation has mobilized maintenance contractors from IEW Construction Group of Trenton to perform repairs in eight locations along the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay bridges in response to damage that accrued as a result of Superstorm Sandy.

Field investigations and structural evaluations of all of the shore area’s bridges that were set into motion immediately following the storm reported moderate to significant erosion of sand and material surrounding the abutments of the Dorland J. Henderson Memorial Bridge and its corresponding trestle bridges, which connect Stafford Township and Long Beach Island. According to reports, the entire bridge system is still considered structurally sound.

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Contractors work to repair erosion
damage on the Manahawkin Bay bridges,
following Hurricane Sandy.
“This type of repair is not by any means a safety hazard,” said Tim Greeley, a spokesman for the DOT. “If there was any safety concern for motorists using the bridge, DOT would close the bridge,” he added.
Loose debris has been removed from the damaged abutments, and stone and sand are being replaced around the structures to fill in. This will provide the necessary stability to prevent any future washout at these locations, Greeley said.
The maintenance repairs began last week and are approximately 40 percent complete. The operation is set to be finished sometime around mid-December.
Greeley was unable to provide an estimated cost for the repairs as many of the DOT’s recent ongoing projects have been based on an emergency response to the storm. Many on-call maintenance contractors kept on hand for these specific purposes have recently made their way to the Jersey Shore, especially farther north, where the damage was more devastating.
Fortunately, the work along the Causeway Bridge is being completed with minimal impact to traffic, as the damage did not structurally affect the bridge deck itself. A few bridge shoulder closings have been necessary in order to set up safe work zones but have not affected any travel lanes in the process.
“This work is necessary, but it’s also preventative for keeping the bridge and maintaining it. Just like anything over time, no matter how well it’s built, a bridge will deteriorate to some extent and will inevitably require some type of repair or replacement,” said Greeley.
According to federal regulations, the Causeway Bridge is considered structurally deficient in terms of age, usage and shore area conditions, which means the highway bridge is inspected at least once a year, if not twice a year. According to officials, any erosion that occurred prior to the storm would have already been repaired.
“A structurally deficient rating by no means determines the bridge is unsafe,” claimed Greeley. “It’s not unexpected to see some type of erosion with what we saw from Hurricane Sandy and the type of storm surge that occurred. It’s our duty and our responsibility to respond to it when that happens and make these types of repairs, so that’s exactly what we’re doing now,” he added.
Plans to build a second bridge for the Island are still thought to begin sometime during the spring of 2013, which Greeley said would help maintain the integrity and safety of the bridge infrastructure. The upcoming project will not only improve safety, but also aid traffic management and traffic flow, and reduce congestion in Stafford and on LBI during the summer months.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Operation Blessing helps New Jersey Pinelands community

Volunteers from Operation Blessing International, a nonprofit relief organization, are working alongside local and out-of-state mission teams stationed at Lighthouse Alliance Community Church in Little Egg Harbor Township, to help thousands of residents of the Pinelands community rehabilitate their devastated homes following Superstorm Sandy. They’re offering daily assistance by helping people rip out drywall, carpeting and insulation that have been affected by contaminated floodwaters, to help deter the growth of mold.

Photo by Ryan Morrill
Residents in Tuckerton Beach are still suffering
from damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.
“Operation Blessing really is a blessing,” said church volunteer Theresa Quinlan of Manahawkin. “The people down here are still living in homes without electricity. These are their primary homes; it’s absolutely devastating. Some don’t have furniture, and others are living in their cars and don’t know where to go,” she added, while also mentioning that it seems as if many people are unaware of the help Operation Blessing is offering for free.
Residents seeking help may fill out a work request and sign a release form at Lighthouse Alliance Church, at 2 Giffordtown Lane, Monday through Saturday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or at the Living Water Christian Center, located at 113 Radio Road in Little Egg Harbor, Monday through Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“It’s easy to get lost as a small community nestled in Southern Ocean County, compared to Ocean City or Atlantic City, or Long Beach Island or Seaside (Heights) or Staten Island, but we’re working well with the community,” said the Rev. Stephen Hartman of Lighthouse Alliance Church. “Operation Blessing is reaching out to the people who have been traumatized because they weren’t expecting this sort of devastation,” he added.
Truckloads of donations are being offered to help the local residents, which Hartman said the community is sharing. Of course, he said, the community is still seeking volunteers to help “put things back together again.” This past Saturday, Nov. 17, 350 people volunteered their time and efforts to help begin rebuilding the area. A week before that, 500 people came out to offer help. During the week, Hartman said, nearly 60 people can be found offering their services on a daily basis.
To volunteer with Operation Blessing, call 757-793-1837. Those looking for assistance with their homes may call 757-274-8650.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store in New Jersey Offers Free Items to Sandy's Victims

For many area residents who have been impacted by the damage Sandy stirred up along the Jersey coast, making ends meet has meant turning to local thrift stores for used furniture and appliances to supply their homes or rentals. For Lenny and Debbie Pytlewski, who are renting in the Ocean Acres section of Manahawkin after suffering from 4 feet of floodwater on the first floor of their waterfront home in Mystic Island, picking up furniture from Habitat for Humanity of Southern Ocean County’s ReStore resale outlet, located on Route 9 in West Creek, has been a humbling yet economical endeavor.

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Volunteers are busy retrieving donations to
give to family's effected by Hurricane Sandy.
“We’ve always donated to Habitat, but this is our first time now on the receiving end. You don’t realize how much stuff you need until you lose it,” Debbie remarked as she handed Liz Barulic, ReStore’s store manager, a $100 donation the local resident said was “just to help other people.”
“Our rental on Seaspray Road, an ironic name if you think about it, isn’t furnished, and we’re getting this stuff for free,” said Lenny, pointing to the shop’s display of used couches. “It’s awesome because we’re saving so much money we can spend on fixing the house later. Then we’ll donate the furniture right back to the store,” he added.
Barulic said the mostly volunteer-run organization’s main objective at this point is doing just that – providing as much free furniture as possible to the community’s “refugees.” Recipients of the store’s free furniture and appliances are pre-qualified based on what the store manager calls “honesty and decency.” Beneficiaries must be a victim of an impacted area and must have a place to live. Those receiving financial assistance through FEMA may purchase what they need at a discounted price.
“We have to help people get out of shelters, but we can’t give them any furniture unless they have a place to use it,” Barulic explained.
For those looking to donate furniture, hardware items or building materials, Barulic suggested calling the store at 609-978-6200. If the donations are in good condition, the shop’s truck service will pick them up free of charge. Anything sitting under a tarp or damaged by the storm will not be accepted, and someone must be home to direct the truck drivers.
“People shouldn’t worry about the furniture being used. Anything you purchase from a store is used as soon as you sit on it," Barulic clarified.
Since the storm, she said, the drivers have gone on five to six pickups a day, retrieving four or five items from each. Many of Sandy’s victims have been welcoming the influx of objects, including some of the shop’s own volunteers.
“It’s difficult to know what’s happened, so we try to comfort and pray for those people,” said Joan Malara, a ReStore volunteer from Peahala Park who’s renting in Barnegat with her sister after their house suffered a large amount of water damage. “We’ve lost a lot, but other people have lost everything. So when donations come in, we clean them up and get them out on the floor. We help whoever comes in with whatever they need regardless of our own situations. The community needs us right now,” she added.
The organization is also giving away holiday trinkets and displays for free, or selling them at a reduced price.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Furniture is only being offered to those
that have a place to return to.
“No child should go without a Christmas in such a crisis,” Barulic stated.
According to Greg Muszynski, director of operations at Habitat for Humanity of Southern Ocean County, the faith-based organization is looking into working on critical home repairs for people within the community who need help gutting and renovating their homes. Plans to build or “rehab” other homes are in the process of discussion with other Habitat organizations along the coast and members of the international organization that has helped rebuild in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area in 2005.
“This is no different than what happened in New Orleans or 9/11, only the terrorist this time was Sandra,” said Kathy Duffy, a three-year volunteer at ReStore.
“The volunteers here are goodhearted and sincere in their mission,” added Barulic. “I can’t give them enough praise. They make me look good,” she added.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Director of LBI Health Department discusses concerns

Only a few weeks after Superstorm Sandy ripped across the Jersey coast, many of Long Beach Island’s residents have been granted access to their generally devastated homes and businesses. Though it’s clear to see emergency personnel have been working tirelessly to rid the area’s grounds from piles of tainted sand and debris, many people can’t help but wonder just how safe the region really is. Tim Hilferty, director of the Long Beach Island Health Department, said that at this point, folks should continue to err on the side of caution.

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Anything tainted with contaminated floodwater
is thrown out and picked up by emergency personnel.
“Floodwater is considered unsafe no matter what because it could have come in contact with a whole host of unknowns as it was permeating throughout the Island,” Hilferty stated.
He said the floodwaters could have been affected by physical hazards such as glass, sharps, wood and nails, as well as bacterial hazards and chemical hazards, including cleaning supplies, pesticides and fertilizers, but claimed there was no indication that the public sewer system had been compromised.
The Island’s public water supply was under a boil advisory until Saturday, Nov. 17. The Long Beach Island Joint Emergency Management Center lifted the advisory for all towns north of North Beach Haven, which excluded Beach Haven and Holgate. Officials suggest running water faucets for three to five minutes to flush interior plumbing, as well as emptying and cleaning automatic ice makers and water chillers. Draining and refilling hot water heaters if the temperature is set below 113 degrees Fahrenheit is also recommended, as well as running water softeners and cartridge filters through a regeneration cycle or other procedures recommended by the manufacturer.
Many volunteer organizations such as the American Red Cross have been handing out cleaning supplies, work gloves and protective masks to those who are in the process of fixing up their ravaged homes. Hilferty is urging people to follow the labeling instructions for all supplies, especially regarding N95 face masks, which often require a medical evaluation and fit test before use. Making sure people are up to date with immunizations is also important, he noted.
Donations are being distributed through the Long Beach Island Grade School, located on the corner of 20th Street and Central Avenue in Ship Bottom. Nonperishable food, water, clothing, toiletries, bedding, kids’ supplies, cleaning materials and heaters are available daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hilferty said many people have also been offering to donate their services for free. The health department is currently working on categorizing those services to create a roster people could access via the Long Beach Island Joint Emergency Operations Center's website,, to request specific help.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Tangled debris and gas lines pose a threat
to residents on LBI.
The health department is also focused on getting the area’s restaurants up and running again. Restaurant owners were permitted access to their establishments immediately following the storm to discard of perishable food. Many have already cleaned their facilities and are requesting health inspections.
There is a major concern for people who may need mental health services as well. Hilferty suggested people contact the American Red Cross for those provisions, or call the toll-free Disaster Mental Health Helpline at 877-294-HELP. A TTY line, 877-294-4356, is also available for those who are hearing impaired.
“The volunteers and the donations and the people that have been in this community have done a tremendous job,” said Hilferty. “It’s overwhelming at times. It’s actually upwelling at times,” he added, tearing up a bit.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Breast cancer survivor devotes career to cancer research

Elisheva Chamblin, 52, of Beach Haven, a founding partner of Future Physical Therapy, PC in Manahawkin and Toms River, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer 20 years ago. After undergoing a lumpectomy, followed by a mastectomy with an axillary lymph node dissection, six months of chemotherapy and 35 radiation treatments, she thought she was clear. Four years later, she was told she carried a BRAC1 gene mutation, which meant she was at high risk for breast cancer metastasis, or recurrence. In the hope of avoiding further complications, she underwent a prophylactic mastectomy on the other breast.

Photo by Ryan Morrill
Chamblin treats Dondero-Meyer for lymphema.
At the time, Chamblin said, breast cancer was considered a death sentence. As awareness and funding for cancer research increased through organizations such as the American Cancer Society, survival rates began to improve, support groups were eventually formed, and breast cancer was finally spoken about candidly. Until then, she was left to her own devices to deal with the devastating effects that came with cancer.
“I was really all by myself. It was my own battle,” remembered Chamblin. “I was lucky to have a husband who was very supportive, but we didn’t have the resources like we have today. It was really very hush-hush, like it was a contagious disease. Nowadays, before people even say, ‘Hi, my name is ...,’ they say, ‘I have breast cancer.’ It’s truly very, very open, which is wonderful.”
Although breast cancer was not overtly spoken about when Chamblin was diagnosed with the disease, she said she was never ashamed of herself and always kept a positive attitude, even after she went bald as a result of the radiation treatments. Walking around town without hair was an everyday occurrence for her. She said she felt beautiful just wearing makeup and dressing up each day.
But Chamblin did wear a wig to work, out of respect for her clients. She did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, especially those who were fighting their own battle with breast cancer. She also did not want people to pity her or question her ability to do her job.
“Throughout all of my chemo and radiation treatments, I never missed a day of work. If I had to throw up, I just went to the bathroom. I was not caving in. I’m a fighter,” she said.
Eventually, Chamblin began to notice that many women she came into contact with were suffering from complications from breast cancer treatments, of which many of them were completely unaware. So she immediately began attending seminars to receive certifications for the treatment of lymphedema and other pre-/post-breast cancer surgery rehabilitation programs.
“It’s so interesting: When you’re pregnant, everyone is pregnant. It’s the same thing with cancer,” said Chamblin. “I never paid attention to the amount of patients I had with breast cancer until I had it. Then I thought, ‘This is my calling. I’m going to start to devote my professional career to treating women with these kinds of complications.’”
Ellen Dondero-Meyer, 53, of Cedar Run became a patient of Chamblin’s after she underwent a slew of breast cancer treatments in 1996 and began to suffer from lymphedema in her arm, a manageable but incurable disease that affects the lymph channels of the body. Although she said her doctors did not know much about the disease and did not necessarily approve of its treatments, she found that the complex decongestive physiotherapy used specifically for managing lymphedema made an incredible difference in the dexterity of her hand.
“In the beginning there were times you couldn’t even see my knuckles. It was very disfiguring, and Elisheva recognized that,” said Dondero-Meyer. “Sometimes I still have flare-ups, but it’s very mild. It’s nothing like it was before I started treatment.”
Photo by Ryan Morrill
Chamblin also makes jewelry pendants and 

paints seashells from LBI to help raise 
money for cancer research.
Although Chamblin and Dondero-Meyer were friends before, their bond grew even stronger during treatment. When Dondero-Meyer asked Chamblin to join her in the organization of the Relay For Life of Manahawkin, which is held every year in June at Southern Regional High School to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, Chamblin was by her side as advocacy chair.
After attending ACS’s Celebration on the Hill in Washington, D.C., in 2006, Chamblin also agreed to be the Ambassador Constituent Team Lead for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, advocacy group. She now represents New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District as ACS CAN’s state lead ambassador and continues to work on state and federal issues regarding cancer research.
This year, one of Chamblin’s main priorities, professionally and personally, is centered on increasing support for the Relay For Life of Manahawkin, an event she said suffered a decrease in volunteerism after Barnegat Township built a high school and started its own Relay For Life event.
“This year, we really want to make it exciting and fun. The bigger it is and the more attractive it is, the more volunteers we have and the more money we raise. This is important,” said Chamblin. “The more money we raise, the more research we have and the more lives we save. I’m fighting for others to be what I am: a cancer survivor. Cancer will get you, rain or shine, if you’re white or black, rich or poor. It’s a serious disease, and we have to find a cure,” she added.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

LBI opens permanently, except in Holgate

Photo via Panoramio
LBI residents make their way over the Causeway 

Bridge following Superstorm Sandy to rebuild 
their livelihood at the Jersey Shore.
Life on Long Beach Island is slowly but surely resurrecting.

Residents and non-residents alike are allowed to access all areas of the Island, except for Holgate. A curfew is being enforced between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The Long Beach Island Joint Office of Emergency Management allowed residents of North Beach and Holgate, as well as all of the area’s residents who have been living in shelters during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, to check on their homes and grab their personal belongings on Friday, Nov. 9. Atlantic City Electric shut down power from Susan Avenue to the south end of Holgate that day to ensure residents could safely access their homes, township officials said.
All LBI residents with a re-entry placard or proof of ownership or residency, excluding those who reside in Holgate, were allowed to permanently access the Island on Saturday, Nov. 10. Registered contractors, as well as insurance adjusters and inspectors were permitted with a work order and proper documentation. The bridge opened bright and early at 6 a.m.
According to officials, no demolition or construction is permitted at this time, but contractors are allowed to winterize and secure their customer’s homes.
Holgate residents and contractors with proper identification will be allowed to access their homes to retrieve valuables on Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. No demolition or construction will be permitted and utilities will not be on.
Military personnel have been reassigned from a security mission to an engineering assignment, except in Holgate, officials said.
“Holgate is uninhabitable. Everything is overturned,” said Lynda Wells, municipal clerk of Long Beach Township.
She added that there have not been any disturbances from any residents or sightseers that she’s aware of. Most are just “concerned,” she said.
For up-to-date information regarding the Island’s re-entry plan, visit

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Red Cross continues to offer support to Sandy's victims

Photo by American Red Cross
The American Red Cross began mobilizing
a major relief effort in New Jersey this
past weekend.
The American Red Cross began mobilizing throughout New Jersey this past weekend to hand out hundreds of care packages filled with relief supplies, including hygiene, cleaning and comfort items to victims of Superstorm Sandy. Volunteers drove through Southern Ocean County delivering food, water and comfort kits to those who accepted them in Long Beach Island, Beach Haven West, Little Egg Harbor, Tuckerton and Waretown, among other local communities.

“As we learn about specific neighborhoods in need, we are immediately putting plans in place to provide help,” Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of disaster services for the Red Cross, said in a press release last week.
A number of fixed feeding sites and shelters are being stationed throughout the area, as well as mobile bulk distributions. The nationwide organization will continue to offer support during the recovery. For an up-to-date list of fixed and mobile service locations in the vicinity, visit the Disaster Online Newsroom, or contact the Jersey Coast Chapter at 732-493-9100.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jetty uses storm relief T-shirt sales to donate supplies

Jetty, a locally owned surf and skate apparel company, has made philanthropy a major part of its business since it opened in 2003. Each year, the organization takes part in a number of charitable events through sponsorship, donations and volunteer work. The company has helped aid victims of Hurricane Katrina and often lends a hand to local organizations, including Alliance for a Living Ocean and the Stafford Township Historical Society. When Superstorm Sandy hit the company’s hometown hard, raising money for donations immediately became a priority.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
After only a week, Jetty has sold more
than 10,000 Hurricane Sandy relief T-shirts.

“(Cory and I) knew as soon as we were sitting there in Ocean Acres, watching football on Sunday together after being evacuated, that we were going to do something to help. We were going to design a T-shirt and get it out there quickly,” said Jeremy DeFilippis, co-owner of Jetty.
Three days after the storm, the relief T-shirt, dubbed “Unite and Rebuild,” was designed by Jetty’s creative director, John Clifford, and co-owners DeFilippis and Cory Higgins. It was displayed on the company’s website, ready for pre-order. A week later, more than 10,000 of the shirts had been purchased.
Although the crew had not planned on starting the printing process until Nov. 16, they decided to begin the procedure nearly two weeks ahead of schedule, after considering the shirt’s overwhelming demand.
The company hopes to donate 75 percent of the revenue it receives from the sale of the shirts. So far, more than $11,000 in donations has been given to many of the area’s local organizations, including Southern and Pinelands regional high schools; Barnegat Light, Surf City and Stafford Township fire companies; Little Egg Harbor Food Bank; New Jersey National Guard; and King of Kings Community Church. Many uprooted individuals are receiving donations as well.
“We really wanted to give the money directly to people who needed it; we wanted to give to the people that were displaced and to the emergency first responders,” DeFilippis stated. “We didn’t want to beat around the bush and give to those big organizations where your $100 donation becomes $30 after they pay all their administrative costs and everything.
“We’re so keen on getting people what they need, and not just throwing them a bag of clothes and saying, ‘Here you go.’ We literally get a list and go and buy people exactly what they need,” he added.
Given the T-shirt’s response, DeFilippis said Jetty has definite plans for donating to many of the shore areas that have been rocked by the storm, all the way from Delaware to Long Island, N.Y. The company has already made contributions to the Brigantine Community Center near Atlantic City.
Jetty’s staff workers and volunteers have been working “around the clock” printing, packaging and shipping the T-shirts by hand at the company’s warehouse, located in Little Egg Harbor. David Caldarella, founder of David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation, has been helping out at Jetty’s warehouse throughout the process. He said the “positive vibe” inside the factory has made the onset of devastation a little easier to endure, a feeling even the company’s youngest volunteers seemed to share.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
So far, more than $11,000 in donations
has been given to local organizations.
“It makes me feel good knowing that I can help other people,” claimed Brittany Smith, 14, of Tuckerton, who said she was heading to the Sea Oaks Golf Club later to also volunteer at a spaghetti dinner.
“While some other kids are out doing drugs, drinking and smoking, we’re helping people that are in need,” added Smith’s cousin, Julia Zazenski, 13, from Tuckerton, while folding a Jetty relief T-shirt.
“We know we have a tight community around here. And everyone loves Long Beach Island. But it’s really awesome to see everyone doing their part,” said DeFilippis. “People are just really pitching in, and I think that’ll contribute to rebuilding the community twice as fast,” he added.
Jetty’s relief tees are made with eco-based, water-friendly ink, and come in a range of sizes. Orders costs $20 per shirt, plus $5 for shipping. To make a purchase, go to For an up-to-date list regarding Jetty’s donations, visit

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Stafford Animal Control, Popcorn Park rescue LBI pets after storm

Following the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, Stafford Township Animal Control began immediately receiving e-mails and phone calls from worried residents who had left their pets behind on Long Beach Island after having to evacuate. The agency has been on the case.

Animal cruelty investigator Kelly Karch has been leading the organization’s rescue efforts since Wednesday, Oct. 30, when she said she finally received clearance to enter the Island. Officers from the Long Beach Township Police Department and New Jersey National Guard helped escort her through unsafe areas, and by Monday, Nov. 5, she said she had helped retrieve more than 80 pets.
“We rescued lots of cats and dogs, and even some turtles, snakes, ferrets and a few hermit crabs. We rescued a lot of birds, parrots and finches,” said Karch. “Anything anyone considered a pet, something they loved or were attached to, we helped find.”
Although many of the pet owners supplied Karch with keys to their homes, she said she sometimes had to search for hidden keys on the premises or crawl through unlocked windows. Many of the houses contained several feet of water. The trapped animals were obviously distraught, but they quickly accepted her rescue tactics, she said.
“Animals are funny. They seemed to know we were there to help them,” Karch said. “Of course, they’re nervous, but I honestly think they knew we were there to help. Even the cats that are usually hard to handle let us pick them right up and secure them.”
Luckily, Karch said, none of the animals were sick or injured, and there were no fatalities.
Most of the animals were taken to the Stafford Township Municipal Complex, where their family members immediately picked them up. Others stayed at the Southern Ocean County Animal Facility until their owners could make it back to town to retrieve them.
Stafford Animal Control has not been contacted for pet retrieval since Sunday, and no strays have been found wandering the streets.
Karch is continuing to survey the Island. She made stops in Holgate, Beach Haven, Loveladies and Harvey Cedars on Wednesday to supply the area’s population of feral cats with fresh food and water. She said she would check on them again on Friday, before coming back after the weekend to check again.
Animal control investigators from the Associated Humane Societies Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River worked alongside Karch on Saturday.
“We’ll go wherever we’re needed,” said John Bergmann, general manager of Popcorn Park.
Bergmann said the animals living at the zoo had survived the hurricane without injury. The animals were kept in their dens during the time of the storm, but many of the birds, ducks and peacocks weathered the storm outside on the park grounds.
Popcorn Park is acting as a distribution center for victims of Hurricane Sandy who need food, litter and bedding supplies for their pets. Supplies and monetary donations are welcomed at this time, too.
“People obviously need help now, not only for themselves but for their pets,” Bergmann said.
The building’s hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. For more information, visit, or dial 609-693-1900. To contact Stafford Township Animal Control, call 609-597-1000, extension 8525.
Hotline set up to reunite lost pets with owners
The Humane Society of the United States has set up a hotline to reunite people with their pets following Hurricane Sandy. The phone number is 1-855-407-4787.
“There are pet owners who still may have animals out on the Island; through this number (authorities) can send a first responder to pick up the animal, or if it has been picked up somewhere and taken to the shelters, this can help locate the animal,” said Brian Lippai, manager of the Ocean County Animal Facilities in Stafford and Jackson townships.
The Humane Society of the United States is in the beginning stages of setting up command centers in Ocean County, and one will be in Barnegat, Lippai was told. The aim is for pet owners to be able to get crates, food and other help.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Collection points set to manage Ocean County's donations

The Ocean County Office of Emergency Management has released a list of donation collection points within the county to better streamline the efforts of local shelters. Many of the centers are collecting all of the basic essentials, including food, clothing, toiletries and cleaning supplies, though several of the locations have made special requests for certain necessary items.

For those looking to donate in Southern Ocean County, the Stafford Township Municipal Complex, located at 260 Bay Ave. in Manahawkin, is seeking paper products and protein bars. Donations can also be dropped off at St. Mary’s of the Pines Catholic Church, located at 100 Bishop Lane off McKinley Avenue in Manahawkin, and at the Little Egg Harbor Township Senior Center, located at 965 Radio Rd.

Officials are asking people to avoid taking their items directly to local shelters. For a complete list of collection points within the county, visit
Anyone interested in volunteering during the wake of Hurricane Sandy should contact the American Red Cross at or 732-493-9100.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Red Cross helps victims of Sandy on LBI

Photo by Jack Reynolds
Red Cross volunteers man the intersection
near 19th St. and Long Beach Blvd. 
The American Red Cross stationed a re-entry truck on the Boulevard of Long Beach Island, near the Ship Bottom water tower, yesterday for residents to access while making their way to their homes for the first time since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the 18-mile island. The truck provided water, coffee, snacks and hot lunches, including pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, baked beans and corn, as well as masks, working gloves and trash bags to those in need. Disaster mental health personnel and disaster health services were also offered.

Three Red Cross teams traveled around the Island, canvassing the different sections and offering residents personal support during this time. Various snacks and toiletries, as well as trash bags, gloves and even stuffed animals were handed out to those who accepted them.

Nearly 1,000 Red Cross volunteers have been deployed from across the nation to aid in the relief efforts along the East Coast. Volunteers Don Snookal, 69, of Chino, Calif., and Don Hrdina, 57, of Rochester, Minn., said offering emotional support to the victims of Hurricane Sandy is one of the organization’s main priorities.
“Everybody needs something different right now,” said Hrdina. “We want to make sure people aren’t stressed or discouraged. Some people just need to talk, and others just like knowing we’re there if they need them. We just stop and talk to people, and they’ll signal their neighbors out. We don’t have to knock on doors,” he added.
Photo by Jack Reynolds
Jack Ives of Tinton Falls, NJ holds up supplies
for residents arriving on the island for the
first time since Hurricane Sandy.
The volunteers said they came into contact with many people who were experiencing different levels of grief. Although it appeared many were clear-headed and ready to get to work cleaning up their homes, others were still downtrodden and angry with the way things have turned out.
Learning what areas of the Island are suffering from the most physical and mental trauma will help the Red Cross better streamline its efforts during this time.
“Literally being here makes a difference, but since we can’t be everywhere, we need to send people where there is the greatest need,” said Snookal. “Our focus is on empowering people by giving them the tools to help them recover. We give them physical things to use, and we also give them information for support. By doing this, people end up with considerably less complications and symptoms,” he added.
Laura Steinmetz, community/government relations officer of the South Jersey Region of the American Red Cross, said the organization will continue to support the area’s residents throughout these trying times.
“We absolutely have not forgotten about LBI. You’re going to start seeing us in a big way,” she stated.

This article was published in The SandPaper.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Photos: Sandy Wreaks Havoc Along the Bay in Barnegat, NJ

NJ church offers shelter to Sandy's victims now and later

King of Kings Community Church, located on Route 9 in Manahawkin, opened its doors to those in need long before Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore. Since the storm, the church’s doors have remained open, and Pastor Mike Dryburgh said volunteers “have been coming out of the woodwork to help” ever since.

“There’s no shortage of donations,” he stated.
Photo by Kelley Anne Essinger
Volunteers sort through donations at the
King of Kings Community Church in Manahawkin.
King of Kings, alongside the Southern Ocean County Resource Center and other faith-based organizations in the area, has partnered with a number of emergency disaster relief groups, including Christ in Action, to aid in the cleanup of southern New Jersey, dubbed Shore Up! New Jersey. Janice Dryburgh, the pastor’s wife, said the outpouring of community found at the church has been “overwhelming.”
Church members and volunteers from all over have been working around the clock to help those in need. Donations including food, clothing, toiletries and cleaning supplies have been coming in by the bundle. Items can be seen spread outside the churchyard and inside the building.
A 48-foot-long trailer equipped with portable showers arrived in town on Friday, Nov. 2, offering 800 warm showers a day. Hot meals are also being served up daily, and the church building is acting as a welcoming, safe haven for those who have been displaced from their homes because of Hurricane Sandy. Volunteer groups have even set out to help clean up debris inside and outside people’s homes.
At this point, there are more people donating to the church than there are people accessing the church’s donations. The church closed off access to the building to volunteers on Sunday afternoon.
“For every three people donating, we have one family coming forth (for help). We need to regroup,” explained Pastor Dryburgh.
Darlene Sheridan, a Morning Harbor resident from Barnegat who passed out flyers with information about the King of Kings shelter to residents on the bayfront in Barnegat, said many people she spoke with were unaware of the church’s services – one reason the church might be sensing a lesser need.
“Every house I went into was totally ripped apart,” said Sheridan. “Whole houses are empty. People are in shock. It’s devastating, and no one is aware of the resources at King of Kings or anywhere else.”
Many of the people Sheridan spoke with had suffered severe housing damage from the storm, but said they were grateful to have a house and did not necessarily need anything from a shelter.
Photo by Kelley Anne Essinger
Barnegat Township Police Officer
Mark Bernstein checks a resident
for proof of ID at the checkpoint
on Bayshore Drive in Barnegat.
“We have money and food, (electrical) power and a house. And we’ve got too much to do before we can leave,” said Mary Frack, a local musician who has been keeping the windows of her home open at night to deter the growth of mildew and to dry out the water-soaked flooring and walls.
But just a week after Hurricane Sandy swooped in, the area is expecting a nor’easter to arrive by Wednesday.
Sheridan thinks much of the shock from the devastation of last week’s storm has not yet worn off, especially for many of Barnegat’s bayside residents who still do not have power and are sleeping with hats on, under mounds of blankets. However, many of the residents say they at least feel safe, especially since the Barnegat Township Police Department is offering daily and nightly surveillance up and down the streets and at checkpoints on East Bay Avenue near Lower Shore Road and on Bayshore Drive next to Ridgeway Street.
“Everyone wants to go back to normalcy, but our lives are changed forever,” said Dryburgh. “It’s no longer the storm of ’62 people are talking about; it’s the storm of 2012. People are still going to need our help probably months down the road."
“We’ve been working 24-hour days,” added Janice. “Now we need to figure out how we’re going to maintain our resources. We’ll work through the night if we have to.”
The pair said they plan on seeing things through to the end and will maintain the church as a warehouse facility for the community and its donated items.
“Don’t be surprised if you see our church services are put on hold,” they said.

This article was published in The SandPaper.