We are writing to thank the many people who helped us provide assistance to Sandy survivors over the past several months; with their help, we were able to place furniture, appliances, and house wares with over 80 families impacted in the Bay Shore.

The following highlights the generosity of many individuals who worked with us to help many recover and start to rebuild

During the months of November and December the Atlantic Highlands Leo Club distributed meals to the Paradise Trailer Park (meals daily for lunch and dinner for over forty days).  During that time in addition to the food, we brought clean and dry bedding, clean and dry clothing, cleaning supplies, and comfort kits.  We collected items at the OEM building in Atlantic Highlands.

After a week collecting and distributing we moved to the Masonic Lodge in order to sort our overflowing amount of items.  Dry beds were in short supply but we were able to get new and used mattresses and continue with that till now. We were brought items from Firefighters from North Jersey who were turned away from other donation locations – we thankfully took their donated items and distributed them daily.

We received a truck load of diapers and wipes from Dallas, Texas which we distributed and the rest we gave to Calvary Chapel to be distributed. 

A woman from Reading, Pennsylvania drove a truck with furniture to our home and we unloaded it in a neighboring towns firehouse as our garage was overloaded – where we sorted it and distributed it.

Cristen, from OLPH was our help with clean blankets and pillows, throws and many other items.

We cooked and delivered Thanksgiving dinners.  Our deliveries continued throughout December bringing us to Christmas – we were able to bring Christmas to our original families– gifts ,trees and Christmas dinners. 

January came and we found many trying to regain lost items such as furniture, towels, bedding, household items.  This was a seven day a week venture.  We continue to check on our families who have relocated and add new families daily – some needing something as small as a lamp – others with children without proper clothing and beds.  Two woman drove up from Philly packed as much as they could in there jeep and brought it to us.  Another woman’s son did a clothing drive and contacted his local WAWA – they sent cases of canned goods – this was a task to unload and deliver! 

The Monmouth County Park Service brought us cots, then they brought us new clothing for children sizes 3 to 12 – so many families were the recipients.  A School in Kinnelon, NJ brought us new scholastic books – we distributed them to Union Beach who were so overwhelmed with appreciation.  In total, we have delivered over 640 large green garbage bags of clothing. We have delivered items to hotels where some families are still living with/without children – since the storm and to date continue to do so.

We delivered Lowe’s gift cards, Foodtown gift cards and Target gift cards – most of the donations of cards have been anonymous – we thank you!

Thank you to Mr. Whitehead who directed us to the trailer park at the start and whose prayers are what carry us through the long days.  Thank you to Pam for the help, support and for knowing we would help everyone we could.  The A.H. Lions Club for their support of our efforts in every way possible.

Thank you to the moms and students who helped sort clothing for hours and hours. Our home continues to be used as a drop off base – for many items, as others turned them away we accepted everything and still do. The ladies in the Borough Hall were instrumental in giving out our information so that people could contact us.  Most days when I return my porch is piled with clothing and furniture items.  This morning brought baby clothes and a high chair!  We have had seven different families donate contents of their homes – some the whole house – some certain rooms.  This weekend we will be picking up the contents of a whole home – we secured a truck and will be delivering on the return trip.

These are just some of the stories of donations.  There are so many more and so many people who helped. Thank you to Regina and Gen, My siblings Joseph, Mary and Tootsie, who help whenever they can. The LEO Club , (Robert, Maha, Ashley, Monica, Melissa, Sarah, Tiffany, Wendy, Stacie, Jackie, Alexis, Nina, Rita, Chelsea, Kendall, Whitley, and Louisa).  Joe the wonderful man who ran out and bought an abundance of socks and underwear for kids, the man who made seven trips with clothing – he collected from every neighbor.  There was the little woman who walked over many times with a grocery store wagon bringing cleaning supplies and clothing, Gerta and Slim who helped collect, sort and deliver.  Cathy, Carol and there extended family gave meals, time and contacts.  Corinna and her friends who donated meals and also got us much needed blow up mattresses – for people sleeping on floors.  Eileen who brought meals along with Robin and Donna (there lunches were the favorites).  Even if it was one meal it was a help – we were running out of ideas for lunches and dinners after a while.  The Town and Surf Diner made us meals when we just couldn’t think of anything and he was kind enough to send us soup on many very cold nights. Whitley’s family who drove seven hours with a small trailer full of donations on the back of their truck and then drove seven hours back! The Neher family from Holmdel who brought so many items and were so kind checking in weekly to see what they could bring.  Pete from the Atlantic Bait and Tackle Shop rented a U-Haul and picked up contents of a home for us as well as lending a hand with other pick-ups.  He also bought two new mattresses when we had a family with children sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags. Then there is the wonderful women of Mountain Hill School who brought Christmas to many families, it was overwhelming to see everything they supplied.  Flo who has outfitted several handsome young men in nearly new clothing and contributed meals with the help of friends and a much needed mattress! Then there is Arnie and Maureen our dear friends who we met reaching out to help, they have continued to help us in our deliveries and pick ups. Even with their loss they have extended themselves to us on a daily basis. The wonderful woman who brought the lap blankets and hand knitted items.  Jordan who has brought couches, gift cards and clothing. Christen our neighbor who shared her home and donated her storage unit items. The families have been so appreciative of every item and they are so willing to share what is given to them with neighbors.

Thank you to everyone who has donated items!

Our Gratitude, Rob, Jacqui and Robert Hillmann

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...