After 4 months, $32 million Sandy relief fund run by N.J. first lady to distribute aid

A touch of irony in New Jersey as the Associated Press reports that the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund has not yet dispensed the $32 million it has collected in the region. The organization is run by Mary Pat Christie, wife of the famously impatient New Jersey governor.

After the storm, public service announcements ran around the country, with Mary Pat Christie speaking.

“Homes, businesses and state treasures were destroyed, but our spirit wasn’t. That’s why Chris and I are asking you to join us in supporting communities affected by the storm,” she said.

Now, four months after the storm, the fund will begin distributing money this week, starting with $1 million to nonprofit organizations involved in rebuilding efforts.

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“Our mission has always been about long-term recovery because it’s what relief experts identified as one of the greatest needs following a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy,” said Cam Henderson, the fund’s executive director. “It’s our duty to responsibly and effectively distribute the dollars we have raised.”

Gov. Chris Christie has not been happy about delays in aid delivery. Last month, the governor called FEMA’s slowness in fulfilling flood insurance claims a “disgrace,” adding that, “I’ve been as patient as I’m going to be with national flood insurance programs and now I’m going to turn my special brand of love and affection on them.”

At the time, Christie blamed the uncertainty created by FEMA for delaying other efforts such as the relief fund.

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