In the Wake of Sandy Service Continues…by Cheneise Wright
I am not Jersey born but jersey grown and the Atlantic City area is near and dear to my heart. The jersey shore, although a little warped by that blasted show, does optimize one thing; New Jerseyians love for the beach. A love that still holds true even after Super storm Sandy. Growing up so close to Atlantic City has made my transition a bit easier but also an eye opening experience. Things are not always as simple as they originally seem.
When starting my VISTA year I believed that my role would be to make a change in the city that I was stationed. I had a mission in mind and service in my sight. All was on track, going according to plan then Super storm Sandy hit Atlantic City, and everything was called into question. Homes, property, and lives were disrupted and many cases destroyed. My VAD essential had to be looked at in a new light. However service continued.
Three months after the storm, the residents of Atlantic City have had time to begin to rebuild and my idea of service has changed. My mission is different and I see that any help is always welcomed. The News trucks have left and the mass of volunteers have went home however, Atlantic City is still working on cleaning up. Every day I see new piles of material on the street from families cleaning out the houses. Residents have still not come home. Yet service still continues.
With my role as Campus Delivery shift leader, I weekly see first-hand the effects the storm has had on the beach town. A family of eight that we formerly dropped of food to has yet to return. Their house and the houses surrounding them are boarded and uninhabited. A mother of five has moved to a different town. The motel that we visited weekly has yet to reopen its doors. Yet service still continues.
It is not just my service that continues but all of the residents have come to together to help. In the months following, I have assisted the Atlantic City Parent Resource Centers with storm relief. They have had multiple storm relief events including coat drives, clothing and food pick-ups, and a multitude of meetings to aid in assistance. The amount of service that has continued despite the storm speaks volumes of the character that the City exudes. Atlantic City is just not about the Casino and the beach but the people. They show that they can come to together and in a crisis and put back together what was broken. Their spirit is what makes my service still continue.
Parent and Community Engagement Coordinator
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
Galloway, New Jersey