Sea Bright: The worst times often bring out the best in people. In times of tragedy, personal loss, and extreme devastation, the true character of people begins to show. After dealing with catastrophic loss the loss of homes, businesses and personal effects, the residents of Sea Bright are starting to come together as one to rise from the damages caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Immediately after the storm was over, co owners of “Woodys” restaurant Peter Forlenza and Chris Wood began working with first-responders, volunteers, the National Guard, and affected residents by preparing warm beverages and offering up to four thousand meals a day throughout the township. Their tireless work immediately began providing nourishment to community depleted of almost all of their basic needs.
While Peter and Chris worked to feed those in need, 16-year-old resident Charlotte Naggy produced a 33-minute documentary that was uploaded in part and in whole to YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF9oABZqyl8).
Using music by Train, she was able to capture the devastation caused by the storm and it’s aftermath. This video caught local, regional, and national attention. This video also caught the attention of the band themselves. Moved by the pictures and images, the band wanted to help, they just didn’t know how.
As Peter and Chris continued to work on the ground level, Charlotte went to the Internet to share just what happened in Sea Bright. As the video went viral, people started to notice. Sean Moran, who works for VH-1, and has connections with Train’s management put two and two together and immediately started working on organizing a benefit for first responders and Sea Bright residents.
Through Sean’s efforts, he was able to coordinate a mid-week benefit concert for Sea Bright residents that would also be filmed, documentary style, for VH-1. This documentary, “Christmas in Sea Bright,” will be airing all day on Christmas from 8:00am to 10:00pm. During that time, the show will break at the top and bottom of every hour to promote both the Facebook page and the website: www.seabrightrising.org
In addition to all of the national press that Sea Bright is getting, the co-founders of SeaBrightRising.org Ilene Winters has been instrumental in finding a location for the “Big Beach Bash,” which has been moved from the Holy Cross location in Rumson to the Ocean Palace in Long Branch, NJ. The 650 people, who have registered will enjoy a night of dancing, live music, fine food, and spirits. For more information on how to get you ticket, please visit: http://seabrightrising.org/events.html
To date, SeaBrightRising has raised over three hundred thousand dollars and in the process of helping 10 families in the Sea Bright community. This money has purchased bedding and beds, helped disabled people move from their locations, paid for: electricians, construction projects, and helped to offset security deposits for several residents.
Like most shore communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, the work ahead may seem insurmountable. Unfortunately, as the winter months set in, it will become harder and harder to make progress. Though the weather will present challenges, it is the human spirit that will help the impacted prevail, regardless of whatever the conditions may be. Volunteer efforts that are being seen in Sea Bright are not uncommon. In fact, they clearly show that even in the worst of times we can come together to make magic happen one day at a time.