Stories From Main Street: Volunteers Help Sandy Victims Rebuild In Sea Bright
In the storm-ravaged community, they are saviors with saws and heroes with hammers, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
“Groups come in from California, from Montana. We have a group of students in today from Maryland. We had a group last week down from Boston,” said Lynn Shapiro, who organizes volunteers with Sea Bright Rising, a non-profit organization dedicated to Sandy relief in Sea Bright.
In the quest to restore more than 100 homes, Sea Bright Rising has partnered with the St. Bernard Project, which arose from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“People think that because this happened two years ago, that everybody is home and everything is fine and dandy but there are a lot of people who are still displaced and a lot of people who still need a home to go to,” site supervisor Sean Galligan said.
Shapiro said many of their volunteers have never worked on a home.
“Ninety percent of our volunteers, if not 95 percent, have never swung a hammer, never painted, never hung drywall,” she said.
One of Sea Bright Rising’s founders, Chris Wood, said many companies have also stepped in to help.
“Farmer’s Insurance, had people from McGraw Hill, we’ve had people from Hilti, First Energy, Viacom,” he said.
Barbara Opoku works for Farmer’s Insurance in Delaware. The company is paying its employees to volunteer.
“For me, it was important because I grew up in New Jersey so I spent a lot of my summers on the Jersey shore,” she said.
Amy Ashmen also works for Farmer’s Insurance.
“I’m from Tinton Falls originally. I work in Wilmington and I said, ‘how could I not volunteer.’ This is the beach I used to hang out at as a kid,” she said. “When you go down the side streets, there are still houses not being lived in and people still displaced.”
Volunteer Julian DeVonish from Maplewood was up on a ladder and covered in Spackle.
“They’ve been out of their homes over a year, like 500 days, and they still can’t go back to what they call home,” he said. “I can’t imagine that.”
More volunteers are always needed, but there are other ways you can help.
“Come out, volunteer your time or $5, $10 will buy a pack of nails,” Galligan said.
For more information, visit seabrightrising.org.
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