$232,000 dispersed through OCNJ CARE

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$232,000 dispersed through OCNJ CARE  $232,000 dispersed through OCNJ CARE

OCEAN CITY — By late Friday, OCNJ CARE dispersed $232,000 to 35 local businesses and about 100 local families.

“It was an extraordinary community effort,” said Drew Fasy, chairman of the non-profit organization formed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to clean-up and restore Ocean City.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, volunteers went door to door looking for residents in need. Whether it was ripping out carpet and drywall, locating temporary housing for the displaced, feeding the hungry or clothing the needy, the organization went into overdrive.

“There were a lot of sad stories,” Fasy said.

Volunteers began raising money and formed a subcommittee, so that those in need could apply for grants from OCNJ CARE to help with a wide variety of needs.

“Everyone who applied for a grant received some funding,” Fasy said. “Nobody was turned down. Obviously, we were limited. We could not give everyone everything they needed, we did our best to help. Some businesses lost over $100,000 of equipment. We couldn’t make everyone whole. We did the best we could to take the edge off.”

About $75,000 went to help businesses, $90,000 to residents and an additional $60,000 will go to residents of Peck’s Beach Village, displaced due to flooding, when they are able to return to their homes.

“Peck’s Beach Village residents will be given gift cards to local merchants, so they can buy what they need,” Fasy said. “They can buy furnishings and so forth and we are hoping that the merchants will give them some sort of discount. Peck’s Beach Village residents are probably our most vulnerable, so we are very happy to be able to help them.

“If we had more money, we would give away more money,” he said.

Fasy said it was “awe-inspiring” to raise as much money as they were able to from a community that has been so hard hit by the storm.

“The storm impacted almost everyone,” he said. “It’s people helping people, in very difficult times. We had hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours, with hundreds of people, to make this happen.

“A lot of people had insurance issues. They didn’t have, or did not have enough insurance, especially on the contents of their homes or businesses. Some lost their jobs because of flooding, so they had problems because they had no income. There were all kinds of scenarios. Some people lost everything.”
OCNJ CARE, he said, will not cease to exist anytime soon.

“We’re still working with people who need food,” he said. “We were able to locate some storage space and that’s been very helpful. The housing issue is going to continue to be a big problem for a long time. There will be issues for a while. We want to be able to help people.

“We’re going to stay active, and God forbid there is another storm, we will be up and ready to begin helping,” he said.

Fasy said it took time to raise the money and compile a list of the needy.

“We were, from our inception, taking care of the emergent needs,” he said. “Beyond that, we wanted to take our time in determining what would come next.

“We wanted to disperse the funding in a way that was thoughtful and create a ‘best practices’ approach. We studied how other organizations did this after a natural disaster, and went about it the best way we could.

“In the grand scheme of things, we were able to get our non-profit status and get this money to where it is most needed very quickly,” he said.

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