Stories From Main Street: Sea Bright Restaurant Owner Keeps People Fed After Sandy
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SEA BRIGHT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - No one will go hungry in the Jersey Shore community of Sea Bright.
That’s because, following superstorm Sandy, a local restaurant owner and many volunteers are serving up enough food for an army, and they’re getting help from the National Guard.
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams On The Story
After the ocean washed over and leveled parts of the borough, a few folks started making coffee and flipping flapjacks at the firehouse.
“There isn’t a single business open in Sea Bright,” said restaurant owner Chris Wood.
He put his own life on hold and will fix his shattered restaurant later. Right now, he’s focused on feeding his neighbors.
He put out an appeal on Facebook and the donations poured in. They got several shipping containers full of supplies.
“We’re standing in the middle of a mini army camp of sorts,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. “Two huge mobile kitchens, two ‘feeding tents’ we call them.”
They serve hundreds and hundreds of meals every day for free, buffet style.
There are even flowers, pumpkins, and gords adorning the folding tables.
Outside, there are burgers, hot dogs, and chicken on the grill.
In a tent kitchen, volunteer Gina Rosset stirred a cauldron of tomato sauce.
“It’s a lot of sauce in there,” she said.
“What’s it like stirring 15 gallons of meat sauce?” asked Adams.
“I’m getting my arm workout,” she said.
Across the street, Conno Trezza lost his pizzeria. He cooked at a friend’s place and brought in 60 pies.
“There’s a lot of people that lost their homes and belonging,” he said. “A lot of people are a lot worse than me.”
Sgt. Richard Bretow with the Army National Guard said he is well-stocked for Thanksgiving.
He said he has 1,200 pounds of potatoes and close to 2,000 pounds of turkey meat.
Joe Ruane lost one of his properties when jetty boulders broke through the bedroom and is grateful.
“The food is great and we don’t have a place for our family to dine together as a group,” he said. “We’re going to see if we can get a table for nine – nine on Thanksgiving,” he said.
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They’re serving up so much more than just a hot meal there. There are hugs, reassuring words, and pledges of support.
“If you look at everyone around here, no one’s sulking. Everyone’s upbeat. Everyone’s smiling,” Former Mayor JoAnn Kalaka-Adams said. “And everyone is ‘What can I do for you?’ and ‘How can I help you?'”
Some people call Wood the “Saint of Sea Bright” for all of his efforts. If you ask him, he’ll tell you the whole community is coming together.
“Common citizens stepping up to the plate,” he said. “Everybody and anybody is willing to pitch in.”