SEA BRIGHT:Hurricane Sandy was not kind to the borough and 100 residents are still without homes.
Thankfully, the work of Sea Bright Rising is helping those residents rebuild and return to their hometown.
Sea Bright Rising was started by Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood immediately following Hurricane Sandy.
“We started just by feeding the workers in town and anybody who needed meals, and from that sprung Sea Bright Rising,” Director of Development and Volunteer Manager for Sea Bright Rising Lynn Shapiro said.
The organization was later incorporated as a non-profit and helped administer grants for people who needed money for rent, deposits or utilities.
Sea Bright Rising also recently partnered with the St. Bernard Project in order to broaden the scope of its mission.
“Six months ago, they were ready to shut down, because they had accomplished their mission of helping people during the interim period, but then the St. Bernard Project came into town,” Shapiro said.
The St. Bernard Project was created after Hurricane Katrina and their mission was not immediate assistance, but long-term recovery, including getting people back in their homes.
They use private and corporate donations, volunteer workers and a partnership with a local non-profit that knows the community to accomplish their goals. Sea Bright Rising was a natural partner, Shapiro said.
“They bring in the infrastructure, hire minimal staff and a team of AmeriCorps volunteers and the building is based on recruiting volunteers and that’s what Sea Bright Rising does,” Shapiro said. “We’re collectively raising money and building homes, and identifying people in need.”
Shapiro said they are currently in the process of rebuilding three homes.
“We expect to have the first resident back home by mid to late June,” she said. “We also hope to build 30 homes by the end of the year and 100 homes by the end of 2015.”
She said most primary residents have chosen to rebuilding in their hometown.
“There’s a handful who have sold or moved on, but most people feel a very strong affinity to Sea Bright,” she said. “Many of our clients are second and third generation Sea Brighters and they don’t want to give it up.”
She said the greatest need appears to be in the downtown area of Sea Bright.
“This downtown area took the largest hit, essentially because there is a break in the sea wall and the water basically funneled through that with such force,” she said.
Shapiro added that the St. Bernard Project is also rebuilding homes in the Highlands and some portions of Rumson along the Shrewsbury River.
Sea Bright Rising is always looking for donations and volunteers to help rebuild homes. Anybody who wishes to help out in either capacity can contact Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Sea Bright Rising, visit www.seabrightrising.org.