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Hurricane Irene Brings One New Jersey Community Together

Bringing the community together.When Hurricane Irene hit Monroe Township last week, no one expected the storm to bring this little New Jersey community even closer together.  More than 200 homes were damaged causing families to relocate due to unstable structures and flooding.  The nearby creeks swelled.

As the storm moved out of the area, volunteers began moving in – about 400 of them.  Volunteers headed to the damaged homes and businesses to clean up waterlogged sheetrock, carpet, and other debris left behind.  Trash was cleaned up.  The community center was opened to hand out canned goods, diapers, toys, and clothing to those most affected by the storm.

The sense of community is strong in Monroe Township.  In fact, some of the volunteers were the community’s youngest – 11 years old and younger!  Kids lined up alongside their parents to carry damaged property from homes and businesses for their neighbors.  How often can we really say that the people we live near would do the same?

Many homes were damaged beyond immediate repair.  Those residents have moved into temporary shelters or have relocated out of town to stay with friends and relatives.  Looking around town, what remains of some structures are simply four-by-four wood studs where walls and rooms once stood.

The goodwill and efforts of the community’s residents hasn’t gone unnoticed by hurricane victims.  Some have turned leftover bed sheets into “thank you” signs to those pitching in to help out.  Even in the worst of times, it is always nice to know that you can rely on the community to which you have moved.

Lance Grooms

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