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Agency comes through for area Sandy victims
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Agency comes through for area Sandy victims

Family service helping with food purchases, grants, and free loans

Unhurt, but not undamaged. That’s the best way to describe one woman and her developmentally challenged adult daughter after Hurricane Sandy destroyed their rental apartment in Long Beach.

The woman — we’ll call her Mrs. B — told staff at Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Monmouth County that the storm ripped off the roof of their building, leaving all their furnishings and possessions exposed to the elements. Torrential rain and savage winds ruined everything they had and left them homeless.

With limited financial resources — the pair make do on the mother’s small Social Security retirement check and the daughter’s disability payments — Mrs. B and her daughter had to rely on friends to get them through the awful early days.

In order not to be too much of a burden on any one family, they moved from one friend’s house to another.

But as this was being written, nearly six weeks after the catastrophic storm made landfall on the Jersey shore, Mrs. B worried that her friends’ patience was ebbing. They needed some relief from the presence of the hapless mother and daughter so they could get on with their own lives.

Meanwhile, although the roof was repaired at their Long Branch apartment, there still was no electricity or heat.

Responding to an application for assistance, JF&CS — a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County — was able to provide aid in the form of funds to cover overdue bills, as well as gift cards for food purchases.

The story of Mrs. B and her daughter is just one of scores of cases that the social service agency has dealt with in Sandy’s aftermath.

In another story — again with names withheld to preserve confidentiality — Mrs. E, a single mother residing in Bradley Beach with two children, 14 and eight, saw their house reduced to studs.

Since the storm, they have been living in FEMA-subsidized motels. JF&CS stepped forward with a grant to replace clothing and with gift cards for food.

But the family’s troubles are far from over. According to Mrs. E’s application, there was no flood insurance. So, although the homeowner’s policy will replace some of the personal property loss, it will not cover rebuilding of the structure.

Loss of income, as well as loss of property, is confronting Mr. and Mrs. G of Sea Bright as they attempt to move forward after the superstorm.

When their house was flooded, it effectively shut down Mr. G’s business, which was run from home. In addition to losing clothing, furnishings, home goods, personal photos, and artifacts, the couple lost costly business equipment and supplies, and — even more critical — essential business records.

Since late October, with no money coming in, they have had to rely on credit cards to meet expenses, including rent for an apartment where they are living until their home is rebuilt.

According to JF&CS executive director Paul B. Freedman, “An emergency grant has provided a small amount of support in what is a massive challenge for this couple to get their life back on track.”

Freedman told New Jersey Jewish News that stories like these three help those who are more fortunate to understand and empathize with the anxiety and anguish felt by victims of a major natural disaster such as Sandy.

In November, Freedman reported that enrollment in his agency’s Kosher Meals on Wheels program had been expanded to help all community members 60 years or older who could use assistance with shopping or food.

In addition, he said, the criteria for the JF&CS Hebrew Free Loan program have been expanded, including increases in the size of possible loans and added flexibility in repayment to best help shore-area families and businesses recover following the storm.

Anyone interested in making a contribution to ease the needs of Sandy’s victims should contact JF&CS at 732-774-6886 or JewishMonmouthSandyResponse@Gmail.com.

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