Author Archives: Madeline Bell

Her Campus Features Bonner Scholar Jen Snyder and Her Continued Efforts to Rebuild After Superstorm Sandy

The following article was posted on TCNJ’s Her Campus on November 20, 2013. To access this and other visit

Jen Snyder: Overcoming Hurricane Sandy

Posted Nov 20 2013 – 1:00am
Jen Snyder (center) with Bonner Scholar teammates Christina Torres and Alissa Cappelleri.

Last month, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy passed reminding people that although much relief work has been done in the past year, there is still a long way to go. This week’s Campus Celebrity, Jen Snyder, is a perfect example of this fact. Jen, a sophomore nursing major here at TCNJ, lost most of her belongings in the storm. Despite the devastation that she has experienced, Jen remains positive and continues to help the effort to rebuild the shore.

Jen’s mother and her fiancé, residents of Ortley Beach for ten years, were forced to evacuate before the storm. Jen explained that because they, like most of the people who were evacuated, did not take the storm seriously, only packed their belongings for a weekend. Her family was not allowed to return to their home until two months after the storm, by which time they discovered that nothing else was salvageable from their home. They lost pictures, jewelry, clothes, TVs, and more according to Jen. Her mother started living in a small motel, and when her parents in New Mexico grew ill, she packed up what little belongings she owned and moved in to care for them.

Jen stayed with her father who lives on the water in Brick Township during the storm. Jen, along with her father and brothers, decided to wait out the storm at her neighbor and dear friend’s house after her family lost power. Even though the house has never been reached by water before, her neighbor’s house began to flood the night after the storm started. Water was flooding the streets as well, and by 2:00 a.m. my brother was taking my nieces to safety in a canoe while my other brother and I walked in waist deep water the few blocks to home,” Jen explained.

The next day, after receiving phone calls from neighbors, her brother used his canoe to bring more neighbors to safety. However, Jen said that “one of our neighbors did not make it because he drowned to death before anyone could get to him.” With classes cancelled at TCNJ, Jen and her family continued to help people every day. They weren’t able to leave the neighborhood for several days, and even so food and gas were limited, she explained. Their home remained without power for nineteen days.

Because the bay met the ocean during the storm, every high tide following the storm caused flooding again. This made rebuilding extremely difficult in Brick Township, and almost impossible. Many of Jen’s friends lost their homes and the community club where she and her friends grew up in was destroyed as well.

Jen’s experience with Sandy definitely had an effect on all aspects of her life, even after returning to school. “I was stressed and upset all of the time, and I could not stop thinking about all of the things that would be different because of the storm,” Jen said. “I could no longer see my mother whenever I wanted, I could no longer go to the boardwalk and other places I grew up enjoying, I could no longer walk down the street to my friend Ryan’s house because it was no longer there,” she explained.

Despite the traumatic effects of the storm, Jen was able to use her connection as a Bonner here at TCNJ to bring relief work back to her hometown every weekend. They helped to demolish houses, get rid of ruined furniture and household items, clean up the beaches, and dig out houses that were buried in sand.

A year later, Jen says that “there is so much work to be done still, but we have come a long way.  The bays still have to be cleaned out and houses still need to be rebuilt. One of my neighbors just rebuilt their house from Hurricane Sandy and moved into it last week,” she says, “it feels great to know there is progress being made.”  This progress and Jen’s positivity has allowed her to believe that “there is hope for a restored shore.”

Volunteers Needed Friday, August 2nd

Volunteers are needed to help out with recovery efforts on Friday, August 2nd. Volunteers will be departing from the TCNJ Student Center at 8:30am to work on recovery efforts with Jersey Work Camp in the Union Beach area. Activities will be solidified as the date gets closer, however, projects will entail manual labor in residents’… Continue Reading

TCNJ Here for Home Continues Work Over the Summer

As part of it’s Pre-College Program, the Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement and the TCNJ Here for Home Campaign brought 30 students to Point Pleasant, NJ to help in recovery efforts after the area was affected by Superstorm Sandy. The students helped rebuild, paint, and beautify recreation areas in the town and got… Continue Reading

Federally Funded Programs Providing Grants to Homeowners Affected by Superstorm Sandy

With a focus on the most impacted communities throughout the state, New Jersey is offering aid through grant awards to Homeowners who were impacted by Superstorm Sandy, through the website This website provides important information to individuals on federally funded programs that have been designed to assist in the repair and rebuilding of primary owner occupied residences. Homeowners may… Continue Reading

Salvation Army Says Thank You to TCNJ Here for Home

The Salvation Army formally thanked the TCNJ Here for Home Campaign for all of its work to help with recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy. The Here for Home Campaign was happy to work with the Salvation Army, among other organizations, and looks forward to future collaboration as New Jersey continues to rebuild and grow stronger… Continue Reading

Here for Home Featured in TCNJ Magazine

Here for Home Featured in TCNJ Magazine

TCNJ Magazine published the following article on the TCNJ Here for Home Campaign in their March issue. To read the full article, visit TCNJ Here for Home Posted on March 1, 2013 by Brandon Gould ’12 When Hurricane Sandy struck, the effect could be felt up and down the East Coast. Homes were ruined, businesses destroyed, loved ones… Continue Reading