Sandy victims rally for relief

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Walk a Mile in My Shoes set for Saturday in Brigantine

Frustration and anger have been the emotions most expressed by those who suffered the worst of Superstorm Sandy and the subsequent lack of timely assistance by Congress. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently took Congress to task expressing his frustration in declarations of “Shame!”

Even though many New Jersey shore communities suffered severe damage, New York experienced some of the worst. Michael “Sandy Claus” Sciaraffo, a 31-year-old political consultant from Brooklyn, N.Y., decided to do something about it. He initiated a grassroots effort called Walk a Mile in My Shoes, which will take place Saturday, Jan. 12.

He obviously touched a nerve with others still trying to recover from Sandy. Walk a Mile in My Shoes has spawned similar efforts in New York at Gerritsen Beach, Staten Island and Island Park in Nassau County.

New Jersey has picked up on the energy. Keansburg-Union Beach and Seaside Park will be participating, and in South Jersey there will be a rally Saturday morning in Brigantine.

“Congress needs to pass the relief package so people can get back to rebuilding their live,” said Brigantine co-organizer Marjorie Goodman. “It’s important that South Jersey’s voice is heard.”

The event in Brigantine will start 9 a.m. at North Point Marina, 1225 East Shore Drive at the north end of the island. Co-organizer Donna Vanzant, who owns the marina, developed a national identity when Brigantine was visited by President Obama immediately after the hit from Sandy. A photograph of her being hugged by Obama received international distribution. Her marina is still looking for funds for reconstruction, along with many others in southern New Jersey.

But marinas are only a small part of the picture of devastation. Only last week did Congress authorize additional funding for the National Flood Insurance program. Many have been waiting for funds – some living in conditions with no heat.

Reconstruction has been delayed for lack of funds.

Goodman has the support of Brigantine officials for this Saturday’s rally, but has not stopped there.

“I have invited Governor Christie, Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Congressman LoBiondo,” she said.

But more than that, she said she wants anyone who wants to express a sense of solidarity to come this Saturday and “walk a mile” to show concern with the lack of support from the federal government. TV Channel 40 and other media have been invited to attend.

Social media, again, is playing a big part in getting the word out. For more information, see “Sandy Walk a Mile” on Facebook.

Goodman can be contacted on her Facebook page or by email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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