Responses to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy range from official initiatives at the Federal and State level,Кto more home-spun, locally-based collections of supplies for hard-hit families in shoreline communities around the tri-state area.
In recent days, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that it had added Mercer and Hunterdon counties to its major disaster declaration that already included Monmouth, Middlesex, and Somerset counties, enabling residents and business owners in these communities to apply for Individual Assistance program assistance to help recover from Hurricane Sandy.
FEMA encourages those who have suffered loss to apply for aid over the phone at 1-800-621.3362 (FEMA), or online www.disasterassistance.gov or www.fema.gov.
Congressman Rush Holt (D-12) was instrumental in getting Mercer and Hunterdon on FEMA’s list. “Just after Sandy hit our region, I sent a letter to President Obama requesting such a declaration,” he reported. “When I toured affected areas with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on November 4, I re-emphasized the need for speedy action on the declaration. I’m pleased FEMA has responded.”
FEMA assistance for affected individuals, families, and businesses may include rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable; short-term lodging assistance for evacuees who are not able to return home for an extended or indeterminate period of time following the storm; grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary, and functional; and grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation, and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.
Filling out the paperwork for FEMA may be daunting for some, and Mr. Holt said that those requiring assistance should call him at (609) 750-9365.
With area blood supplies down more than 6,000 units from hurricane disruptions, New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS), a division of New York Blood Center (NYBC), is asking for post-hurricane emergency blood donations. “We anticipated some of the potential effects of Hurricane Sandy, and delivered blood in advance to our 200 partner hospitals,” said NYBC Vice President Rob Purvis. “Our first priority remains getting them whatever they need for the care of patients, including the surgeries that had to be delayed last week. Plus — with the holiday season right around the corner — we’re in a tough spot.” The need for blood is constant, whatever the weather or holiday, noted Mr. Purvis. The shelf life of platelets is only five days; the shelf life of red blood cells is 42 days. About one in seven people entering a hospital needs blood.
To find out how and where to donate blood, or for information on how to organize a blood drive, call (800) 933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org.
Locally, area chefs Max Hansen of Max Hansen Catering; Josh Thomsen from the soon to be opened restaurant, Agricola; Manuel Perez from The Peacock Inn; Mark Silverman from the Bedens Brook Club; Scott Anderson of elements; and The Bent Spoon’s Gabby Carbone, will be preparing food and providing services for a cocktail party fundraiser at the Bedens Brook Club in Skillman on Sunday, November 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. To attend, contact co-organizers Teresa Danko at TMDanko@aol.com, or Holly Schade, at email@example.com. The event is $250 per seat for “red level” participants, and $150 per seat for those at “white level.”
Also locally, the online resource Princetonscoop.com has embarked on a program to “RestoreOurShore.” Initial efforts focused on collecting supplies and food for the approximately 200 first responders on Long Beach Island who were without water, gas, or power. Drop-off sites and more target areas will be described at the site in the coming days.
Donations from Princeton residents enabled D’Angelo Market representatives to transport a truck full of donations to St. Francis de Sales Church in Rockaway, N.Y. last week. “Folks and volunteers at the Recovery Center were praising the quality of the donations with emotion,” they reported. Donated items included heavy coats, blankets, socks, underwear, scarves, and gloves. Baby supplies included wipes, diapers, bottles, formula, and baby food, sorted for distribution to areas of Rockaway, Far Rockaway, and Broad Channel. Princeton residents also remembered the elderly, donating adult diapers and vitamin fortified products like Ensure.
PSE&G advised that they expected almost all of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township Residents to have power restored by the end of Saturday, November 10. Area residents who are still without power should call PSE&G at (800) 436-7734.
Borough and Township officials sounded a cautious note by reporting that while “the majority of the town has received power, we are not backing down in our communication with PSE&G to get power to those that still are without. In fact, we share our residents’ frustration as we have tried to get specific areas in which PSE&G projects a longer duration for power restoration so that residents can be notified so that they can make alternative plans and we can also better direct our resources.”