The unofficial summer season gets off to a chilly and breezy start this Memorial Day Weekend after the most challenging, tragic, and tumultuous six months in Jersey Shore history.
Since it became clear in late October that Hurricane Sandy was headed straight for New Jersey, the Diocese of Camden’s Catholic Charities has been tireless in its response to the storm. The work continues steadily today, shifting from relief to recovery.
Statistics provided by Camden’s Catholic Charities are simultaneously sobering and inspiring. It’s heartbreaking to think of so many lives broken. But we are also so proud of the work of Catholic Charities in the face of tragedy. This is what the Church does. This is who we are.
Immediately after the storm, Catholic Charities set up two distribution centers near the shore.
- 136,000 pounds of food and supplies were distributed
- 15,000 individuals were assisted
- 392 volunteers participated
As weeks passed, the response from diocesan parishes and dioceses all over the country was robust:
- Almost $300,000 received in donations from diocesan parishes
- More than $350,000 received from dioceses across the country
- $225,000 spent in assistance
- Over 150 families received financial support
- More than 50 have received case management
The need for recovery work continues. While 31,000 FEMA applications for aid were submitted by residents of the diocese, Catholic Charities estimates 5000 people here will have unmet needs. The storm’s damage to the shore’s robust hospitality industry cost many people jobs — many of whom are undocumented immigrants. (Catholic Charities reports that New Jersey’s proportion of undocumented immigrants in the workforce ranks fifth in the nation.)