I swore that I wasn’t going to do a Thanksgiving post this year. I find them tiring listing off all the things that we are grateful for. I’m happy that I have a family that loves me, food on my table, and a roof over my head.
Which leaves me to the reason for this here post.
Some people are not so lucky to have a roof over their heads this year; Hurricane Sandy took care of that a few weeks ago. Here in New Jersey, the storm hit us pretty hard. My home was completely spared of any damage and the worst thing that happened was that after a week of the power being out, I had to replace all of the food in my fridge. It sucks, but you deal with it. Turns out I was one of the lucky ones.
When storms like this hit, you feel really bad for the people that lost everything. Then after a few weeks it seems that you forget about them and the struggles that they are going through. I think back to when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast; the images that I saw were completely unbelievable, but after time they disappeared from my television and disappeared from my conscience. It wasn’t something that I had to deal with directly, and unfortunately I went on with my life not thinking about what those people 1500 miles away were going through. We donated money to the Red Cross, but there really seemed to be little more that I could do.
This is one of the lasting images of this Superstorm Sandy. It’s 10 minutes from my house. When I heard about all of the damage in New York and New Jersey, I didn’t realize that right down the road from me was one of the hardest hit areas in the region, Union Beach. I had seen the destruction of Seaside Heights and much of the Jersey Shore that my good friend Justin Mannato has documented in his blog Daddy Knows Less, but there was always this image of this half a house standing in Union Beach. Little did I know how close it was to where I live. While pictures of the damage might disappear from my television screen, this house on Front Street is not something that is going to disappear from head anytime soon. Nor is the damage that I saw that was far worse than this in the rest of the town.
Union Beach is not one of these grand seaside towns with mansions that dot the seascape. It’s not New York City where many of these people commute to every day. It’s a middle class borough with hard working people that shop in the same grocery stores that I shop in. They get their cars fixed at the same mechanics that we do. They eat in the same restaurants, including one of our favorites, Drew’s in Keyport which was completely flooded by the storm. Much of this town has lost everything.
It’s where we come in. Neighbors helping neighbors in anyway that we can. Many of these people will be spending the holidays in temporary shelters with no home to call their own and they need our help. To make donations to this tiny town you can do so by mailing a check to the following:
Union Beach Disaster Relief Fund
650 Poole Ave.
Union Beach, NJ 07735.
You can also visit the towns website at www.unionbeach.net to find out other ways to help, they sure could use a ton of it. Of course if you are reluctant to write a check you can always go online and donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief.
A lot of us have so much to give this holiday season, and that is something we should all be thankful for.