Local Groups Deserve Recognition for Sandy Relief Efforts, Too

Superstorm Sandy rocked the worlds of thousands of people who unfortunately lived right in her path of destruction. The cost to repair the major damage has been estimated to be an astronomical $36.8 billion, and that is just for the state of New Jersey alone. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that the estimated amount of funds that they would need to not only restore the state to its previous condition, but also to put towards preventative measure for future storms is $41.9 billion.

This storm turned out to be way more than any of us expected. In a “Forbes” article written merely a day after the storm hit, they reported that EQUECAT’s estimate of the storm damage would be more than $20 billion. Well they  were certainly right.

So what now? Where is this money supposed to come from? A sizable amount will come from the direction of FEMA and the federal government, but by no means is that going to cover the personal and emotional damage suffered by every single victim. Almost everything that we have heard and seen on television, the radio and the computer, is all about making donations to the Red Cross.

While it’s wonderful and admirable on all fronts of the networks to expose such opportunities of the organizations and charities who give their time and money, and of the citizens who want to help and donate out of the goodness of their hearts, how come we never hear of any other organizations who have put in the effort and given their time? It’s not because they don’t exist. It seems to merely be a lack of exposure and in turn, a lack of awareness. It’s wonderful that the Red Cross has collected $85 million dollars just towards Sandy relief, but what about the small-town donors and contributors? They have given to the victims something that the Red Cross might not: the ability to acknowledge that not only should we still maintain some of our faith in humanity as a whole, but in the individual as well.

The Plant Church, which runs out of the Ramapo Ridge Middle School cafeteria every Sunday, has been working tirelessly since the storm hit in order to give what they can and help where it’s needed. The leaders of the church have been planning trips to Moonachie and Jersey City, areas that were severely affected, and encouraged its congregation, as well as anyone else who was interested to bring whatever tools, supplies and people that they could to assist in a cleanup effort. In addition, the church has worked together with the Mahwah Bar and Grill, a local restaurant, to plan a food drive for the Center for Food Action located in Mahwah this Sunday. In addition, 10% of all food sales will go towards Sandy Relief efforts.

If these people from small organizations and businesses don’t convince you to have faith in the individual, I’m not quite sure what will. While the money and efforts that they put forth combined will not match what the Red Cross has already brought in, these people are making a difference in places where these larger organizations might not have ever gone to. And just as a parting thought: keep in mind the owners of the restaurants that have let people come in and eat and charge all of their electronics when they didn’t have electricity. They have a job, and it’s not to make sure that everyone in the town has a charged cell phone. The pastor of the church doesn’t have to take time out of his busy work and personal life to assist people recover from the damages. But these people do these things anyway and for no monetary gain. That in itself speaks volumes about how mankind is as strong as ever.