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The Power in Being Social After Hurricane Sandy. How You Can Help.

How to help our family, friends and neighbors impacted by Hurricane Sandy through donations, door-to-door assistance and how social media is enabling a direct, grass-roots style response.

As I write this, I’m surrounded by my family and good friends who we are hosting while their power is out. We are not displaced. We have not lost our home and our beloved possessions. We are warm and safe.  A bittersweet awareness of how incredibly lucky we’ve been, but deeply saddened by the loss, destruction and emotional distress all around us. We are also inspired by the good will of others who just want to help. ~Teicia Gaupp, Co-Founder JerseyMomsBlog

As I write this I am displaced but not disheartened. We lost power and thus heat, so we vacated to family’s house in Maryland to warm up and recharge-figuratively and literally. As soon as we left, I couldn’t wait to get back. Driving south and west through the state we witnessed the magnitude of the storm and realized that though our house was cold and dark, we were very, very lucky. So, instantly we were overcome by a nearly insatiable desire to DO SOMETHING. We want to help. We want to use our idle hands to  rebuild. We want to take action to bring Jersey back. While I’ve been in Maryland, that’s been the prevailing feeling from all I encounter-the desire to do something, anything, to help. ~ Cristie Ritz King, Co-Founder JerseyMomsBlog

So, together we’ve gathered resources to help people do just that -DO SOMETHING. Whether you’re near or far, the following links will take you to places that will help you donate supplies, time or money-all of which will go a long way toward restoring the glory to our beloved Jersey Shore.

Jersey Mom, Jersey Dad or simply Jersey Lover-we’re all in this together and together we will do something.

  • FEMA is making shelter-aid available now. There are deeper pockets of our community where people are still living in their battered and cold homes getting by day to day because shelters are filling up quickly. This assistance program will help with transition to a local shelter, hotels, motels and longer-term housing as communities rebuild. But you MUST register with FEMA to get started:
    • NJ, NY residents can call 1(800) 621-3362
    • Residents can register from a mobile phone at m.fema.gov
    • Residents can register online at www.disasterassistance.gov
  • How to Volunteer.  We’re seeing and hearing alot of shelters turn away clothes because of the overwhelming generosity over the last several days. According to reports, many hands are needed on the front line to help sort and deliver these donations, clothes, food, ice, cleaning supplies, toiletries and other emergency-related items. If you can spare time, the volunteer help will make a big impact. Call 1-800-JERSEY-7 for info on latest local needs.
  • For the power-hungry. If you’re lucky enough to have power, host a family… having a charging party … bring food to those in the cold.  JCP&L and assisting electric companies are working to restore power.  For information on when power may be restored in your area, please check www.firstenergycorp.com or call 1-888-544-4877.
  • Social help is here and very powerful. We are so inspired to see how social media is enabling grass-roots efforts online (if you’re lucky enough to have access).  On Facebook, Jersey Shore Hurricane News has some incredible breaking news and important information about local NJ areas hit hard and status of accessibility to restricted areas, rumor patrol,  gas inquiries, specific shelter needs and volunteer opportunities. Keep connected with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and hyper-local online news outlets like Patch too. The Facebook Group, Moms On A Budget  (must be a member) has become a veritable portal for door-to-door assistance in the Monmouth County area. The outreach is incredible. People have posted their urgent needs and the response is immediate. Find your local groups and get connected.
  • Local Charities: 
    • The Community YMCA is doing their part toward Hurricane Relief Efforts by gathering supplies for area residents and offering their facilitiesduring its regular business hours to those in the community seeking a shower, WI-FI, a place to recharge cell phones or simply a warm place to relax. Residents are asked to bring their own towels and toiletries.
    • Move for Hunger has started the Rebuild Recover project where you can donate supplies or money that will go directly to the people of New Jersey who have been hit by Hurricane Sandy. This group is local people who were already doing good, just going a bit further for their beloved Jersey Shore.
    • Tunnel to Towers Foundationis a Staten Island-based organization accepting donations for the NJ shore, Rockaway and Staten Island. you can choose the area you would like to donate to and the organization will get it to them. Checks should be made payable to the "T2T Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund" and can be sent to: Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation 2361 Hylan Blvd. Staten Island, NY 1030
  • Larger Charities: 
    • Red Cross: To donate, visit www.redcross.org, call 800-Red-Cross or text the word "Redcross" to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
    • The Salvation Army has dozens of mobile feeding units and shelters along the East Coast that are working to serve thousands in the most heavily hit areas. Visitwww.salvationarmyusa.org to donate.
    • Feeding America has thousands of pounds of emergency food, water and supplies in the disaster zone that it is working to distribute to the storm's victims. To donate, visit www.feedingamerica.org or call 800-910-5524.
    • AmeriCares is providing medicine and other supplies to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. To donate, visitwww.americares.org.
  • You can still vote! On Election Day, if you are displaced as a result of the hurricane, you will be able to go to any open polling location in the state of New Jersey and cast a Provisional Ballot.  You can vote by email or by fax by requesting a mail in ballot.  Voters can download a mail-in ballot application.
  • IRS Tax Relief... because a little goes a long way. Info for affected individuals and businesses of Hurricane Sandy is now available. Affected taxpayers in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York will receive tax relief. Other locations may be added in coming days based on additional damage assessments by FEMA. The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting in late October. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Feb. 1, 2013 to file these returns and pay any taxes due.
  • Reach out to the JerseyMomsBlog community. If you need anything, please feel free to post your needs and requests to our JerseyMomsBlog Facebook page by sending us a Friend request and tagging @JerseyMoms in your post and you will reach our broad community.

No doubt we've missed some info. But please use our blog community as a way to outreach. We want to help. Here's wishing you warm hands, full bellies and miles of support for everyone affected by Sandy. She certainly came to the wrong neighborhood.  Let's give eachother a helping hand. 

Peace and Warmth,

~Teicia and Cristie, JerseyMomsBlog

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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