It would be hard to find someone in the tri-state area that wasn’t impacted by Superstorm Sandy.  Some of us were more fortunate than others only sustaining the inconvenience of the loss of power or relatively minor property damage.  Many others, however, had their lives thrown into turmoil with the loss of homes, cars, property and in some cases loved ones.  One of the areas particularly hard hit along the Jersey shore was Highlands, NJ. 

Located at the tip of the Jersey shore, Highlands is a small historical fishing village with about 5,000 residents.  It’s a place where my family has deep roots tracing back to the original settlement of the area when it was known as Parkerstown.  For me personally, my early years were spent there as a baby and a survivor of Hurricane Donna in 1960.  Later in life I would go on to meet my wife Abbie while working at a local restaurant called The Clam Hut (which sustained significant damage during the storm).

Recent reports indicate that of the 1,500 homes in the downtown area over 1,200 sustained significant damage or were completely destroyed.  This is a working class town and many residents lacked flood insurance or other financial resources.  In addition, FEMA and other governmental programs are limited and at times slow to materialize.  Larger relief organizations like the Red Cross are not equipped to handle many day to day living matters.  If you would like to get a better sense of the issues facing Highlands please click on this link:

http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/49682965#49682965

The Jersey shore has been good to me so it is with the spirit of giving back that as the impact of the storm unfolded and continues today, I felt compelled to do something.  I have established a 501(c)(3) organization called Helping Highlands Survivors, Inc.  (see our website atwww.helpinghighlands.org).  Our goal is to raise funds that will provide support such as housing assistance payments, emergency cash grants for medical or other pressing needs, purchasing appliances or construction materials.

I hope you will join me in making a difference to those residents of the Highlands area in need.  Our tax id # is 46-1428334.  Contributions may be made at www.helpinghighlands.org (where you can also learn more about our efforts) or you can send a check to me at JFI if that is more convenient.

Happy holidays and all the best for the new year.  Thanks for your generosity.

 

Bob Small