Beach go­ers band to­gether to help re­build the shore

The Advance of Bucks County - - NEWTOWN AREA - By Cary Beavers

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.

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