A year after the storm ravaged the coast of New Jersey and the federal government dumped millions of dollars into aid and repair, victims of Hurricane Sandy are still having trouble putting together Thanksgiving meals.
A report in Wednesday’s Star-Ledger chronicled the struggles of charity organizations attempting to hand out as many Thanksgiving meals in the Shore towns of Toms River, Brick, Point Pleasant Beach, and other shore towns. Despite millions in federal and state funds being diverted to reconstructing the Shore, the number of families needing help to feed themselves has been “increasing daily” in recent months, and several centers have seen an increase in demand this week before Thanksgiving.
The explanation, one food drive organizer explained, was that more than a year into the tragedy, those who lost their homes had spent any money they received from FEMA and were often not any closer to reconstructing their homes. Many have yet to reconstruct much of their property, and of those who have a roof over their heads, hundreds of others have yet to have the money to buy new furniture or necessary living items. Food banks have resorted to handing out chickens instead of turkeys for Thanksgiving, their supplies rapidly depleted.
In the storm’s aftermath, the media made much ado of Governor Christie’s relationship with President Obama and how his willingness to negotiate with the other side had benefited the victims of the storm. Much of Governor Christie’s reelection campaign focused on his work helping the Shore rebound from the storm. President Obama himself swung down to the shore this May and announced in Asbury Park that the shore was “open for business.”
While many of the more popular tourist spots in the state have indeed begun the reconstructive process, a series of reports from the Star-Ledger show that the more impoverished, less populated parts of the Shore are still woefully far from recovery.