Morristown, NJ) On Saturday, October 26 and Tuesday, October 29, The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and Jersey Cares joined forces to mobilize thousands of volunteers for Sandy Service Day. The two days of statewide service were organized to mark 1-year of recovery from Hurricane Sandy. More than eighty service projects were held throughout Atlantic, Bergen, Hudson, Monmouth and Ocean counties. Volunteers were encouraged to sign-up online and remember Hurricane Sandy by donating their time, energy and talents to restoring the Garden State.
The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, chaired by First Lady Mary Pat Christie, provided the funding to purchase the tools, equipment and supplies needed to complete each project. The Relief Fund has raised $38 million, to date, and anticipates awarding over $25 million in grant awards by October 31, 2013.
"It's inspirational to come out and work alongside so many dedicated volunteers. Thousands of New Jerseyans will benefit from Sandy Service Day and the great work of non-profit organizations like Jersey Cares," said First Lady Mary Pat Christie. "Today we remember the destruction brought by Sandy and continue our work to build a stronger New Jersey. I am so grateful to the families, corporations and individuals here today for rolling up their sleeves and helping to restore the Garden State."
Mrs. Christie stopped by 5 Sandy Service Day projects to
thank volunteers, speak with Jersey Cares organizers and lend a helping hand. At Island Beach State Park the First Lady painted lifeguard stands before stopping at the Seaside Park Fire House to sheet rock and spackle with first responders. At the Visitation Relief Center in Brick Mrs. Christie worked with volunteers in the community garden then visited Sea Bright to speak with participants who spent the morning installing storm fencing and removing debris. The Sandy Service Day tour ended in Union Beach with the Governor and First Lady addressing the community at a home repair site.
"Volunteering is a heartfelt contribution that provides a tangible result at the end of the day," said Brian Dean, Executive Director of Jersey Cares. "It's wonderful to see residents from across the state come lend a helping hand to strengthen our communities."
Jersey Cares works with local leaders to identify potential projects and provide volunteers to Sandy-impacted areas in need. To date they have organized nearly 12,000 volunteers who have dedicated over 80,000 service hours since the storm, completing more than 1,400 Sandy relief projects.
Sandy Service Day participants were put to work repairing homes, building lifeguard stands, painting community facilities, removing debris along the shore, assembling "welcome home" kits, and rebuilding and painting playgrounds. It is estimated that the completed Sandy Service Day projects will benefit some 10,000 New Jerseyans. Many corporations such as Prudential, Coca-Cola and Barclays embraced Sandy Service Day taking over project locations, donating beverages, and sending hundreds of volunteers to participate.
"While much of the Jersey Shore has recovered from last year's historic and devastating super storm, there still are many communities in need and plenty more to do to help with the recovery," said J. Michael Schweder, Mid-Atlantic President, AT&T. "Many of today's volunteers live and work in this area, and others traveled from across the Garden State to lend a hand. I don't think there's an AT&T employee in Jersey that wasn't affected in some way by Sandy, and we're happy to be here today with the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and Jersey Cares to support the rebuilding efforts."
Sports organizations also showed their support for
New Jersey by trading in their uniforms for some hard hats and paintbrushes. JETS players visited St. Rose Convent and High School to paint and sheetrock, while the New York METS organization volunteered at the Garfield Boys & Girls Club. Cabinet officials from the Christie Administration also joined in on Sandy Service Day meeting and assisting volunteers at projects across the state.
Images from Sandy Service Day can be found on twitter #SandyServiceDay & Facebook.