Having just returned from a clothing and other essential items drive in Highlands, I can now say that the effects of this storm have finally sunk in. The surreal feeling is now gone and has been replaced by sadness, but that cannot get in the way of what needs to be done. The message is old, and maybe a bit cliched, but every little bit counts. Please, if you have any extra clothing you can donate, or maybe some nonperishable foods, there are drives springing up all over the coastal region of New Jersey. Even more importantly, though, we need volunteers to work at these places. There are clothes that need to be sorted, people that need bags of items carried to their car, or in some cases, driven to where they are staying as their cars have been lost. Monetary donations are always welcome, but at this point, material goods are what these people truly need. The place I was at today, the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, was inundated with clothing, toiletries, and diapers and baby supplies. What struck me the most was how considerate everyone was. People whose houses and everything they own had been washed away were only taking a few items, and when told they could take more, the response was generally, “No, save it for someone who really needs it.” If you or a friend or loved one has been affected and are reading this, please, please, please come by tomorrow and help yourself to our spread, which as of this afternoon, occupied an entire basketball court. I will be getting there around noon to do whatever they need us to.
Yes, hard-hit Union Beach is much closer to where I live, but most of the people I know and care about live or work in the Highlands area. Some families in our hockey program at Mother Teresa Regional School have lost everything. They need your help. Martial Law has been declared in all coastal towns located in between the two I just mentioned. These people need something to look forward to and all the help they can get. Their morale and survival depends on it.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
141 State Route 36
Highlands, New Jersey