In response to the damage caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida last week, Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity is implementing several programs for the foreseeable future to serve those heavily impacted.

These programs plan to bring people together to build homes, community and most importantly, hope.

The programs are open to anyone living in Somerset and Hunterdon counties, the two counties RVHFH serves. Both counties suffered damage, especially in towns like Hillsborough and Lambertville.

A Brush With Kindness

One program is the "Brush with Kindness" program which is typically an annual event. Brittany Powelson, RVHFH community outreach manager, said in this type of desperation and devastation, they need volunteers to get out to different homes in the community and lend a hand.

She said these volunteers will physically come to a home, clean out items, sanitize, shop vacuum, do brush cleanups and small repairs.

For those seeking this kind of assistance, all they have to do is fill out an application at www.rvhabitat.org/hurricane-ida-relief. For information on how to volunteer, visit https://rvhabitat.org/individual-volunteer.

Completed applications can either be emailed to homeownerservices@rvhabitat.org, or mailed to P.O. Box 330, Pluckemin, NJ 07978

Applications can also be dropped off in-person to the Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 110 North Main Street in Manville.

Habitat ReStore Gift Card Drive

RVHFH's Habitat ReStore, a store that sells donated merchandise to the public, is implementing a gift card drive for families in need. Powelson said shoppers can purchase gift cards in-person, online or by phone. Those gift cards will then be distributed to families to buy furniture and household and home repair items.

Free Supplies

Families in need can also stop by Habitat ReStore where they will be offered donated home repair and relief items such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, paper towels, and cleaning and laundry supplies at no cost. Powelson said there is also special pricing on furniture for those who need to replenish any items destroyed by the storm.

Fill The Truck Donation Drive

Starting this week, Habitat ReStore will be hosting a Fill the Truck donation drive in its parking lot on North Main Street in Manville. People can help by donating non-perishable food items, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, paper towels, baby food, laundry supplies and bottled water. All donations will be given to local food pantries in Somerset and Hunterdon counties, said Powelson.

For those groups that lost their meeting spots, Habitat ReStore will offer space to any groups that need to get together, such as bible study groups that meet on a weekly basis.

"So all of these things are aiming to bring the community together and really build hope and show that in a time where there is a lot of sadness, there's also a lot of kindness being spread," Powelson said. "One of the good things that actually comes out of this, is being able to see the community really come together."

While the programs focus on families in Somerset and Hunterdon counties, Powelson said other people will not be turned away. Regardless of background or income, RVHFH aims to serve people to the best of their ability and let people know they are here to offer comfort.

"The reason that we are here is to spread that love," Powelson said.

President Joe Biden visits Somerset County, NJ to tour Ida damage

President Joe Biden visited Somerset County on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, for a meeting with state and county officials in Hillsborough and a tour of storm damage in Manville.