Regarding the Nov. 9 letter, "Require unemployed to assist with clean-up":

The destruction and devastation that has occurred as a result of Hurricane Sandy is enormous, and my heart goes out to all those whose lives were changed forever by this event. However, this letter writer is ignorant, narrow-minded and bigoted, and has no knowledge regarding the current state of our economy.

Prior to writing such a judgmental letter and stating that we all receive "weekly handouts," the writer should have realized that the unemployment rate in New Jersey is the highest that it has been in three decades.

In addition, due to the economy in our specific area, some companies receive 5,000 to 6,000 applications a month for approximately 200 to 300 job vacancies. Furthermore, any "at will" employee can be laid off at any time.

I know for a fact that a great number of unemployed individuals fall into my category. I was gainfully employed for more than 40 years and made a decent salary, which included weekly payments into unemployment benefits. In those 40 years, I never looked for or accepted a "handout." Upon being laid off, I had no knowledge of what I was entitled to or how to file for unemployment benefits.

Although I am grateful for the benefits, my salary was significantly more, and I actually appreciated being gainfully employed.

I find it interesting that the letter chooses the hurricane disaster as his forum to ridicule the unemployed. In reading his uneducated remarks, I find it difficult to believe that he has empathy for anyone affected by any disaster or tragedy.