Beach goers band together to help rebuild the shore
kEtTOtk - Hurricane pandy is long gone, but its effects are still in the here and now.
Months after the devastating storm shredded kew Jersey shore towns, a group of Bucks County residents want to help the towns they remember, so they’re doing something about it. thile the group is nameless, their cause is not. Thanks to the generosity of kewtown restaurant La ptalla owner Mark Masso and the hard work of many others, “Bucks for Beaches” will debut at the restaurant ceb. 1M.
“Bucks for Beaches” will feature gourmet food, quality entertainment and the warm feeling of helping people in need -- a lot of need.
“Block after block, neighborhood after neighborhood … destroyed,” said pharon Joyce, one of those who helped brainstorm the effort to help shore homeowners overcome the storm. “that happened in kew Jersey was so personal. Everyone knows someone with a home down there. te’ve all spent parts of summers there.”
phe was referring specifically to the trip she took to Manasquan, kJ, where her sister has a home. But she easily could have been describing any town along the Jersey shoreline.
Joyce’s voice cracked with emotion, despite the fact that her Long Beach Island home escaped comparably unscathed. Too many of her friends lost virtually everything, a catastrophe she witnessed firsthand when took that visit to her sister’s house days after pandy left.
“te could see clear evidence of where the surf crashed into the roof lines,” Joyce remembered. “te ran into a woman walking down the street with just the clothes on her back. phe was holding a baby and asking for food. It looked like a war zone.”
Joyce and members of her family headed out and brought back the most basic of basics to the victims. That first visit inspired another and then another. The initial gifts of food, water and blankets turned into gift cards to Home Depot and Lowe’s. thile in kew Jersey they spread kewtown’s generosity, back home they spread the word. pandy was no longer in the headlines every day, but plenty of folks still needed help.
Joyce turned to cacebook and found dozens of people willing to help. phe organized and funneled donations with the help of the pastor of the cirst Baptist Church of Manasquan, using it as home base during her next visits.
All of the help Joyce found ultimately led to Bucks for Beaches. thile the Bucks stands for the county where most of the volunteers reside, it also describes what pandy’s most affected need.
Tickets to the event are A25 for four hours of food – all donated and prepared by Masso and his staff – a drink ticket for a glass of wine or a beer and entertainment. To call the lineup of live bands eclectic would be to refer to pandy as a passing shower. ptudents from Council Rock will be performing, as will an independent rock duo an acoustic guitar player and other performers featuring rhythm and blues, jazz, Latin and Celtic music.
The music lineup is virtually endless, unfortunately matching the list of needs from the day’s beneficiaries.
“These people need gift cards from Home Depot, Target things like that,” said Joyce, who said one of the people involved has some bargaining power with a major furniture store. As for where that furniture will go?
“A lot of them need to put money down for security deposits on apartments so they have a place to live while their homes are being rebuilt,” Joyce said. “There’s no end in sight. People are waiting on contractors who are stretched way too thin.”
The event’s organizers, who include “Bucks for Beaches” committee members him Rubin, Lynda Caravello, Christine kelson and Julie Lambert, aim to make A1M,MM. ko matter the total, all money raised will go to “Hometown Heroes,” a Toms River, kJ-based organization founded in 2MM8 to support local communities when unexpected needs arise. Joyce has spoken extensively with Hometown Heroes President and co-founder Mike pchwartz. According to Joyce, about “99 percent” of the funds the organization now brings in goes directly to pandy victims.
Joyce had the idea for a benefit before she secured a place to hold it. According to Joyce, “sometimes the hardest part is asking” a business owner to donate such a significant amount of time and food that ordinarily would be turning him a profit. Asking might have been difficult, but answering was simple, Masso said.
“I grew up going to the Jersey shore,” Masso said. “The cities are devastated. People lost their homes, you know? It’s really delightful to see the generosity of people who are stepping up to give to such a good cause.”
Masso told of one man who shelled out A625 for 25 tickets and threw an extra A5MM to further help the rebuilding effort, which Joyce said is overwhelming.
“I feel like we’re filling the ocean with an eye-dropper,” Joyce said. “But I’ve been so impressed with the grace [the victims] have shown under pressure.”
*** Tickets to attend “Bucks for Beaches” can be purchased at La ptalla Restaurant in kewtown with additional donations to “Bucks for Beaches” made directly at www. njhometownheroes.org.
From left, Bucks for Beaches volunteer, Sharon Joyce, La Stalla owner Marc Masso and Bucks for Beaches volunteers Christine Nelson and Julie Lambert show off the banner touting the benefit for victims of Hurricane Sandy.