Hurricane Sandy’s destruction is still being felt across much of central and northern New Jersey. Many of our northern shore towns are still closed, and thousands displaced. Here’s how you can help.
Money. Scams are already cropping up, so stick with the organization running shelters for displaced residents right now: the American Red Cross. You can donate through Redcross.org or by texting REDCROSS to 90999. Each text donates $10.
Time. Call the New Jersey Volunteer Emergency Response Hotline at 1-800-JERSEY-7. This is a service that is activated during a state crisis, and the person on the other end of the line will tell you where you’re most needed. Also, if you know a shore business or school that was hit, call and ask if they need help. Our southern barrier islands are starting to open back up, and a lot of people will need extra hands this weekend. Ocean City is open, but city officials have asked people not helping with cleanup to stay home. They’re not quite ready for visitors yet unless they’re working to restore Ocean City.
Supplies. Whether you’re looking to donate hurricane preparedness items you didn’t use, or want to organize a supply drive, check out “New Jersey Needs,” a new Facebook page that is aggregating donation needs from storm shelters and first responders, many of whom have lose their homes as well. Popular requests for shelters are moist wipes, diapers, formula, feminine hygiene products, clean underwear and socks, shoes, and puzzle books. First responders are looking for Gatorade (either powdered mix or bottles), protein bars and dry pasta (DO NOT call fire departments to ask what they need. Their phone lines are already overwhelmed). New Jersey Needs is also sharing collection points where you can drop off supplies that will be delivered to shelters. If you’re in the Cape May area, Exit Zero magazine is organizing a donation drive. The donations will be caravanned north by the fine folks at the Lobster House (who themselves are dealing with flood damage, so make sure you stop by for a meal at some point in the coming year). Also, there’s a gas shortage in Central and North Jersey. Either fuel up before you go, or mail your donations.