By Erin O’Neill/The Star-Ledger
Photo Courtesy of Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger
Tina Patinha slipped a ring on her finger and showed her mother, Jean.
“I miss jewelry, Mom,” she said. “I have nothing now.”
When Patinha’s home in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown flooded during Hurricane Sandy, she lost “every single thing there is, everything you can imagine,” she said. This week, Patinha was able to replace some of what Sandy had taken.
The Salvation Army has moved into a former daycare center in a strip mall off Route 36 in Hazlet and is providing clothing, food, home goods and other supplies to disaster victims. The center, which opened on Christmas Eve, so far has helped about 200 families, manager Bruce Webber said.
Individuals seeking help must show that they lived in an area impacted by Sandy. The center also asks whether residents have applied for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But Webber said “we try to help everyone who comes to us with a valid need.”
After filling out an application and talking with a counselor, victims can shop in the three rooms filled with different types of goods, all of which are brand new. “We don’t charge for the material here and it’s not a thrift store,” Webber said.
In one room, racks of jackets and clothing sat in the center, alongside a table full of canned goods. Food and cleaning supplies and electric heaters lined the walls.
Piles of puzzles, books and children’s toys were stacked neatly in another room. Bedding and other home goods filled the third room, where some residents picked up wall hangings or other decorations.
“If you lost everything in your house, you need little things to decorate,” said Marie Cole, a volunteer from New York who was helping Patinha shop.
The center, which is located at 745 Poole Ave. in Hazlet, will accept donations, but items must be brand new. Dark colored sweatpants are a current need.
More than two feet of water flooded the first floor of Chris Yanick’s Union Beach home. Now he and his wife, as well as two neighbors, are all staying on the second floor. “We have no place to go,” he said.
Yanick said he needs help replacing all of the furniture he lost downstairs, but he also needed clothing. The shirt and pants he was wearing were donated, he said.
“I definitely need a coat,” he said, before he started shopping. “I need some pants. All my clothes, I lost.”
Webber said people “shouldn’t feel shy about asking for help if they’ve been affected. We’ve actually had people return goods because they got home and felt guilty about it. They were sure that someone else needed it more.”
“Really, folks, take a blanket, take some food, take a heater,” he said. “Please let us help you because the need is great.”
For More Salvation Army News Visit: salvationarmysouth.org