Barbara Sedlacek finally got an afternoon off Sunday to begin to deal with the damage to her home in Surf City.
Butt his week she was back to work at the Surf City Fire Company on Eighth Avenue where she and other volunteers have been cooking three meals a day and providing clothing and supplies for first responders, utility workers and now, displaced families on Long Beach Island.
“We’re hanging in here, doing double duty,” she said. The group did cut back to offering just breakfast and lunch this week as power was slowly restored.
While the island was off-limits to residents, workers were still there, making it habitable again. Volunteers from the Police and Fire Auxiliary kept everyone fed and clothed, with donations of food coming in steadily. The lunch tables are set with bottles of water, baskets of fruit and bags of chips.
“People have been coming in all day since the storm,” said Sandy Mannherz, president of the auxiliary. “A lot of the restuarants made donations. We posted that we needed an electric stove and one was here in 15 minutes.”
Now that residents have been allowed to return, families have been coming in for clothing, canned goods and cleaning supplies to replace what they lost.
Judi Hartney said the volunteer response has been overwhelming.
“People have been wonderful,” she said. “Some came to check on their houses and then brought donations to us.”
The fire hall is full of tables stacked with neatly folded and sorted clothing, canned goods and paper products. Relief efforts are punctuated by the sound of periodic fire alarms, as returning power triggers home alarm systems, which crews are sent to check on.
Hartney said the donations needed most right now are food, cleaning supplies and gift cards to grocery, drug and hardware stores so homeowners can replace what they lost and need most to get by.
“I know I don’t have a mop left in my house,” Hartney said.
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