Hometown Heroes gives back to the community
Hometown Heroes was founded by Mike Schwartz in 2008 to provide assistance to any person or any family in need.
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"We are a non-specific charity, so we will help anybody in a crisis," Schwartz explained. "And we do that in three ways: financial assistance, professional assistance, and advocacy."
The non-profit has been a leader in the Sandy recovery efforts around New Jersey, but also supports issues from homelessness to domestic violence to drug abuse to new mothers with nowhere to run.
"Our focus is very broad and we can help just about anybody in the community, which is why we started this," he said.
Over the last six years, Hometown Heroes has raised and distributed more than $2.4 million. All of their money is raised through donations and events, which then goes into a general fund.
The group held nearly 300 events last year. They are on pace for another 200 this year.
Schwartz said while they are committed to being non-specific and need-based, the sheer volume of Sandy has meant a lot of resources in that direction. Hometown Heroes has handled around 2500 Sandy cases, to date.
"We started Hometown Heroes so that we could help people in the community without very specific needs," Schwartz said.
The charity has also showed some resiliency this year after a May fire wiped out their headquarters in downtown Toms River, which included all of their records and items earmarked for fundraisers. They have managed to not miss a beat and continue their operation.
"We've been up and running since day one, but it has been a struggle," Schwartz said.
Schwartz credits the community for their support of his charity, especially during this recovery from the spring fire.
"What we do is very unique in the community. The heroes are not us. The heroes are the community, who step forward to do that. What we do is provide a platform,"