STATE — In response to Superstorm Sandy, Clean Ocean Action (COA) launched a long term volunteer initiative to help the communities and millions of citizens left devastated in the wake of the storm. Today, over 1,000 registered volunteers and 20 organizations were connected to a number of community needs around New York and New Jersey by COA through a program called “Waves of Action”
“In the aftermath of Sandy, volunteers are ready and eagerly looking to help. Many of the impacted municipalities, businesses, and families are working hard to put their lives back together and may not have the time or energy to recruit and/or direct volunteers,” said Tavia Danch, Clean Ocean Action Education Coordinator. “Clean Ocean Action is organizing the day of service ‘For the Shore’ to streamline the process of connecting people with projects.”
Clean Ocean Action sought out members of the community and organizations to become “project leaders” by registering their project online and facilitating the volunteers that respond. Types of projects included: beach, town, and park clean-ups; food and toy drives; and home clean out and repair. There is also a donation drive hosted by the Moonachie First Aid and Rescue Squad asking for gift cards to hardware stores.
Over 40 volunteer projects took place across Cape May to Hampton Bays, N.Y. Volunteers were in Bergen, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May counties in New Jersey and in Kings, Nassau, and Suffolk counties in New York.
“Seeing so many volunteers coming together to reach out and help those in need is the driving force for us to continue assisting those in need during this most difficult time in their lives,” noted Doug Colfer, Waves of Action Volunteer in Middletown.
“Burners without Borders is excited to work with Clean Ocean Action to make an impact on the Hurricane Sandy Clean Up efforts. There are projects in the works for additional locations, and we are thrilled by the opportunity to support other communities in the recovery process,” said Brenda Zimmerman Union Beach and Marsh Clean-Up Project Leader.
“Cattus Island County Park in Toms River has been closed indefinitely, but will now have a chance to reopen ahead of time because of the big push from volunteers through Waves of Action,” stated Joanna Marino, AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador and Cattus Island County Park Project Leader.
In Hudson County, “Waves of Action” attracted the attention of Calling all Crows (www.callingallcrows.org), a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that works for a future when the success of live music is measured not only by ticket sales, but by the impact of fans and musicians mobilizing together to make a difference in the world. A past supporter of Clean Ocean Action, Calling All Crows volunteers joined in by cleaning out houses in Hoboken.
What Superstorm Sandy destroyed in only 36 hours will take months and years to restore. Sustaining and supporting these communities over the long term is important. Clean Ocean Action will call on its network of organizations, businesses, citizens and municipalities from Cape May to Montauk – along the Jersey Shore and the South Shore of Long Island for help. Future “Waves of Action” days in 2013 will progress with the needs of communities and will keep the momentum going for continued improvement of the shore through debris clean ups, sustainable development plans, and projects to improve water quality.
Ed Elzer, Middletown House Cleanup Project Leader from United Methodist Committee of Relief, explained that they are an all-volunteer, faith-based group focused on “not only relief, but recovery.”
“We established the Waves of Action program to provide a longer-term, sustainable strategy to help heal our coastal communities and protect the quality of our region’s ocean,” stated Cindy Zipf, Clean Ocean Action Executive Director, “Today is just the beginning, going forward we hope to encourage communities to go green to save big blue with gardens, green spaces and improved infrastructure.”
For more information visit www.fortheshore.org or contact Clean Ocean Action at 1-732-872-0111.