Occupy Sandy has started organizing work days every Saturday to help those affected by Sandy clean out their homes, and to let people know that there’s help available through canvassing.
Yesterday, I went down to Point Pleasant Beach to lend a hand with muck outs along the Shore. I had the opportunity to go to two separate homes that had been flooded, including one in Lavalette, NJ. I spent every summer there until I was 13, and strongly associate the area with my grandmother, who was the biggest “beach person” I knew. How many people have grandmothers who had to be called in by the life guards because they had gone too far out into sea?
The area was only recently opened up to residents, so it seems like a lot of people are still coming to grips with what’s going on and getting their footing before taking the next steps to recovery. It’s inspiring seeing Occupy Sandy and the other groups that they’re teaming up with to both help with the physical labor of cleaning out and the emotional labor of being there as a supportive hand. There’s physical damage, but there’s emotional damage as well – as a non-resident, it was heartbreaking to see all these places that I associate with family memories covered in sand, or hidden behind piles of damaged items.
I only did a small part, but it felt good to physically be there to help, talking with home owners, families, and other volunteers. There were also a bunch of signs that people had spray painted along the roads that said “Lava-strong” and “Thank you all.” Unfortunately, it seems that the work days will be going on for quite some time, so if you have a chance to go, it’s a great way to be there for someone in need.