On December 21st, Heather Camp, Senior Program Director at the Bonner Center, and Patrick Donohue, Assistant Provost for Community Engaged Learning and Partnerships, visited two sites along the Jersey Shoreline: Union Beach and Ortley Beach. Pat and Heather toured the beach towns to get a sense of the damage left behind by super storm Sandy and to meet with individuals coordinating relief efforts in the townships. Union Beach, which was already facing difficulty due to the economic climate, was hit particularly hard by the storm. Before the storm, Union Beach was experiencing an unemployment rate of 20% as well as an income per capita 27.2% lower than the state average. Hurricane Sandy destroyed between 200 and 300 homes in the town, knocking them off their foundations or rendered them uninhabitable. More than 100 houses are simply missing from the tightly knot community of 6,200 that lives in the one-square mile town. Houses that were not completely destroyed were flooded by water reaching eight feet high.
On January 9 through 11th, 30 First-Year Bonner Community Scholars will travel to Union Beach to help with relief efforts before leaving for their annual trip to New Orleans. Later in TCNJ’s winter break, the Here for Home Campaign will organize another trip open to all the TCNJ community to help in Union Beach, among other locations.
For more information, see the Star Ledger’s coverage of relief efforts in Union Beach here: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/union_beach_sandy_devastation.html.