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Y Community Comes Together for Sandy Victims

Tons of donations poured into the Red Bank YMCA Sunday, including some from a Y in Delaware.

She certainly gave it her best.

Hurricane Sandy knocked down wires, tore trees from the ground, caused widespread power outages throughout the region, and decimated wide swaths of the Jersey shore in what some are calling the worst storm to ever hit this state.

Despite her best efforts, Sandy proved to be no match for the community.

Doors opened at the Community YMCA on Maple Avenue in Red Bank at noon Sunday for a hastily thrown together relief drive. An hour into the day the walls of the gymnasium were lined with tons of supplies, from food and non-perishable food items, to toiletries and clothing. It's responses like these, even with the lights still out in many Monmouth County homes, that continue to demonstrate a shared sense of community pride that even extends well beyond our boarders.

"It was a no-brainer," Meredith Griffin said. "When (Sandy hit) we immediately asked ourselves 'what can we do to help?'"

Griffin, a Delaware resident and aquatic instructor for Brandywine's YMCA, collected supplies and drove them two hours to Red Bank in an over-sized van. It's the first of several trips she expects to make over the course of the next week, or longer if need be.

The sense of community, Griffin said, was all the reason she needed to step up.

The Community YMCA will be collecting donations and distributing items to members of the public every day through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Though organizers know of a couple families in need, much of what has been collected will be given right back to the Great Red Bank community still struggling with Sandy's aftermath.

"The generosity of our community is really incredible," Andrea Plaza, vice president of the Y's Communications and Collaborations said Sunday. "Caring is one of our core values. What I see today is such a great example of the Y and its community coming together."

Not only have donations been pouring in from locals, but, in addition to the Brandywine Y, other YMCA's, including those in West Chester and Philadelphia's Upper Mainline are collecting items to bring to Red Bank to benefit area residents.

The Y's collection drive is one of several currently ongoing in Red Bank. At the Salvation Army, Red Bank Regional High School staff and students collected relief items on Sunday and will be at it again Monday to be distributed to the families of students impacted by Sandy.

Sounds to Go on E. Front Street continues its massive collection effort. The DJ and photography operation teamed up with Move for Hunger soon after Sandy hit and has been sending truckloads of items to shore towns and residents in need.

At the Y, the donation drive was formulated by Board Member Christian Buckman. The Oceanport residents and mother of six acquired a semi tractor trailer from her father's business Dawn Distribution and has promised to fill it.

As long as people are giving, she's there to accept.

"We wanted to help. It was that simple. The response has been amazing," Buckman said. "These are my people. We had some damage to our house, but there are people out there with nothing left.

"We thought this was a good start."

In all, about 30 volunteers arrived at the Y on Sunday to help sort and handle incoming donations. Sandy's impact on New Jersey was personal, she said, and it's time to respond.

Asked about linger effects of Sandy on the state's collective psyche, Buckman said she's not worried.

"We're from New Jersey," she said. "We're going to keep our chins up and get it done."

Teicia Gaupp November 06, 2012 at 10:49 AM
So proud to be part of The Community YMCA. Love the comment, "Were from Jersey... chins up and get it done." Perfect sentiment and great effort.

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