By: Alyssa DiJoseph
Hurricane Sandy hit harder than anyone could have expected. We knew it would be bad, but not this bad. After last year’s hurricane flop, Irene, the people of the east coast had a false sense of security. That was our biggest mistake. Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the east coast, with the Jersey Shore being hit the hardest. Buildings collapsed or were ripped to pieces by the ferocious winds. The combination of the full moon and the hurricane sent water flooding into coastal towns at an alarming rate, sweeping away anything that was on waterfront and damaging (in many cases beyond repair) anything else within its reach. Homes and businesses alike are destroyed, and millions are left without power for what will end up being more than a week. The images of what’s left hit close to home for me, literally.
I live in Fair Haven, New Jersey, a small borough in Monmouth County located about five minutes from the coastal town of Sea Bright. My hometown and the surrounding area are located between two rivers to the north and south, and the ocean to the east. To put things into perspective, take a look at this map image:
Sea Bright was completely ruined by the hurricane. Since Tuesday, October 30th, my Facebook news feed has been nothing but pictures and videos of the complete and utter destruction of all the places I have grown to love and hold close. This is what’s left.
Not only was my area affected by the storm, but every town up and down the coast of New Jersey as well. Everything looks much the same as it did in the video of Sea Bright. The boardwalks in Atlantic City and Seaside Heights are in the Atlantic Ocean. The livelihoods of thousands of people are washed away. The destruction of the Jersey Shore is a huge blow to both our state’s economy and spirit. So now we must begin to rebuild. According to Governor Chris Christie, “All those iconic places you and I visited at the shore when we were kids are gone. We are going to rebuild, but it is going to take time. The shore is not only the heart of our economy. It is the soul of New Jersey.” And so begins the effort to raise awareness and give relief to the broken communities of the Garden State.
Social media is one of the methods being used to spread the word about disaster relief for victims of Sandy. Facebook groups and pages have been started in order to organize donations and spread information both about the affected areas and how to help. One of those pages, Restore the Shore Project, is aimed specifically at Sea Bright and plans to organize a benefit concert for raise money for rebuilding. We are hoping to gain the help of prominent former residents Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Another page, Jersey S.T.R.O.N.G. (Standing Together Rebuilding Our Nation’s Garden State), is raising funds by selling t-shirts depicting the outline of New Jersey and a list of some of the towns affected along the shore.
In the celebrity world, the cast of Jersey Shore is doing the first helpful thing they’ve ever done for our communities: promoting awareness through Twitter and public statements. Using their star power for good, the cast has vowed to help rebuild in any way they can, and are urging fans to donate and volunteer.
These efforts are just the beginning of the long and winding road to recovery. However, if we unite, I know that the shore will be restored. Right now, what matters most is that our families are safe, and that’s something worth being thankful for.