NJ Brother And Sister Clean Up Sandy’s Mess [AUDIO]
As Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc up and down New Jersey, heroism and selflessness gleamed through the unthinkable devastation.What makes the Garden State great? Tell us about a group or organization using the form at the end of this story.
A shining example of public service to their state would be the actions of a brother and sister hailing from the Garden State.
Twenty-four year old Lindsay Donald and twenty-one year old brother Stephen quickly rushed to action, heading into hard-hit areas immediately after the storm. Within six days of Sandy's landfall, the siblings organized New Jersey Strong.
"We just didn't really want to wait for another opportunity to come up for us to help," Lindsay explained. "We wanted to just do it ourselves, and get down there immediately because once we were there, we saw how great the need was."
The group started with the daunting task of cleaning out battered homes, inside-out from top to bottom. This simple concept and outreach has grown almost exponentially between word-of-mouth and social media.
Since Sandy, NJ Strong has mobilized more than 700 volunteers, cleaning out over 80 homes in 19 of the hardest hit areas across the state, from Brick and Seaside down to Long Beach Island.
Lindsay says there are so many organizations doing great work in the aftermath. She explained what makes her and her brother's offering so unique.
"We make a personal connection with the people we are going to help. We get down there. We talk to them. We want to hear their story."
This includes giving out care packages to each of the victim's they have aided and following up with them.
"It's unbelievably humbling to be allowed into these people's lives when they are at their moment of weakness," she said. "They're picking us to be their source of strength at this time. That's an honor to me."
While the New Jersey recovery is in its infancy, NJ Strong is in the midst of a transition.
Lindsay explained that the major home clean-up phase has wound down a bit, so the group is assessing where and how they can best serve during the restoration and rebuild.
In addition to the astounding numbers of volunteers mobilized and homes cleaned, NJ Strong has also raised about nine thousand dollars for storm victims, just a shade under their original target goal of ten thousand dollars.
One thing is for certain - this group is here to stay during this long process for the Garden State.
"We're not going to be able to fix every single thing in the state of New Jersey, as a little non-profit two siblings started. But, we can change everything for some people."
More Good News
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey plans to provide hundreds of New Jersey children with fillings, cleanings, fluoride and sealant treatments and basic oral health education on February 1. UMDNJ is providing the oral health care in conjunction with Give Kids A Smile, a national initiative held each February to bring attention to the epidemic of untreated oral disease among disadvantaged children. UMDNJ has participated in the program for 11 years, helping more than 7,500 children.
800 Charity Cars
1-800-Charity Cars was established in 1996 to provide free, donated vehicles to assist struggling families in their transition from dependency to self-sufficiency. The non-profit organization operates the largest car donation and distribution program in the nation. To date, over 4500 vehicles have been awarded to those in need. If you are interested in donating your vehicle, visit their website for details. Struggling families can apply for a free charity car here.