More than 100 families and 35 businesses shared $232,000 in OCNJ CARE's first round of funding.
The nonprofit community organization was formed in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy to assist Ocean City with food, clothing and shelter needs. With the Oct. 29 storm causing hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated damage, the group cannot meet all of the island's needs, but with its recent distributions, it made an attempt to serve those who need the most help.
“It is heartbreaking to see so many families in need," said Drew Fasy, co-chair of OCNJ CARE. "To the general public, it may appear that Ocean City is 100 percent, but behind the scenes, there are still properties that are completely devastated. It will be months before some families can return to their homes. Every penny counts and OCNJ CARE is pleased to be able to provide grant money to those who lost everything.”
Fasy said businesses were awarded relief based on percentage of estimated loss, and families were divided into tiers based on need.
"You want to be diligent. You want to be fair," Fasy said of a process that included a subcommittee reviewing applications from families and businesses.
Through donations of food, clothing, money and volunteer time, OCNJ CARE has been able to supply more than 5,000 hot meals at the Relief Center in St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, distribute food and clothing to more than 7,000 individuals at relief centers located at the Ocean City Tabernacle and Ocean City Civic Center, work with more than 400 volunteers to help canvass the island to assess needs, help more than 200 families with home repairs, cleaning/mold removal and moving, and place more than 50 families in temporary housing.
“We hope donation money continues to come in so that we may continue to distribute to people in our community who are so greatly in need,” Fasy said.
OCNJ CARE continues to work toward helping Ocean City recover and hopes to be able to raise enough funds to make additional rounds of funding to those in need. Donations may be made online at www.ocnjcare.org or mailed to OCNJ CARE, PO Box 807, Ocean City, NJ 08226.
Fasy said OCNJ CARE has also applied for a grant from the Robin Hood Foundation. The awards range from $100,000 to $1 million.