‘Sandy Day of Service’ brings out thousands of volunteers in N.J.

 Volunteers help build a wall at a community garden at Sandy Service Day project in Brick Township (photo by Phil Gregory).

Volunteers help build a wall at a community garden at Sandy Service Day project in Brick Township (photo by Phil Gregory).

Tuesday was designated as Sandy Service Day in New Jersey, and thousands of volunteers responded to the occasion in hundreds of ways around the state on the first anniversary of the killer storm.

Volunteers in Brick Township were building a wall to keep animals out of a community garden at a relief center where vegetables are being raised to help out those who have not yet been able to get back on their feet.

Long Branch resident Vicki Gaddy said she just wants to help the people who are still trying to deal with the effects of the storm.

“Many of my neighbors were heavily, heavily impacted by Sandy. Many are still making attempts to recover themselves,” she said. “So it was important for me to spend some time to give back, to really focus on the day in a way that’s more productive than just remembering the fear of watching the ocean come at us.”

New Jersey first lady Mary Pat Christie visited many of the project sites.

The Sandy relief fund she chairs will have distributed $25 million by the end of October to 80 organizations that have helped about 100,000 residents, she said.

Many of the volunteers helping Sandy victims recover also were affected by the storm, Christie said.

“They feel the pain, so they want to be able to help, and I think that the other thing is they’re motivated to help others because they want this community to remember that we need to keep at it,” she said.

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