First of all, I really have to apologize for not posting sooner. Of course my sparse blogging isn't without good reason. We are still very much immersed in recovering from the ubiquitous Hurricane Sandy. And so is everyone around us. It's an all-consuming tragedy. So thats why I'm so surprised to hear from my Facebook friends across the country that Hurricane Sandy isn't exactly front page news anymore. I mean, I get it...life must go on. And me and Aaron are really trying to get ours back in order. We're poring over invoices, making supply lists, cleaning and organizing the studio, and diligently trying to catch up on the thousand or so emails! But there's only so much we can do with our entire house turned upside down. As I stated prior, our ground floor was flooded and all of the floors need to be ripped up and replaced. There are a bunch of other things as well, but this is the most pressing issue...with the ticking time bomb of mold setting in, and the stink of the floorboards growing worse each day. And we've met with an insurance guy, and a fema gal, but we have yet to meet with the "flood guy" (that's all I've been calling him.) Yes, the "flood guy" isn't scheduled to be here for another ten days! And he is who stands between us and new floors. We can't rip these ones out until we get approved for the funds by the insurance company...and the "flood guy". So, with that on our minds every waking minute we are still trying hard to move forward and get back into some heavy duty creativity. We are inspired and on fire!
But, being proud New Jerseyans, here's one thing we're not going to do: We are not going to move forward and forget all about our friends and neighbors who lost everything. And apparently, so many of you amazing people share our feelings. Holy cow! The outpouring of love and support for Sandy victims just brings me to tears! I am very active on Facebook. I've surpassed the amount of Facebook friends that one can acquire, so in order to continue accepting friend requests I actually had to create a second Jenny Holiday page.
Ok, so I have been updating my Facebook page pretty frequently after finally getting our power back on a week after the storm. I've just been letting everyone know exactly what happened to us and I've been sharing some pics of the aftermath in our small town and the surrounding communities. Right away my Facebook friends contacted me. First, they wanted to thank me for sharing these stories because they said the Hurricane Sandy coverage had pretty much disappeared from the national news. Being in the center of it all, it's hard to believe that people all over the country aren't hearing about our struggle each and every day. But, like I said...life must go on.
And once again...my Facebook friends were amazing and stated loud and clear that they weren't going to just let "life go on". Not if there are thousands of people without homes, or food, or heat, or clothes. People around me lost EVERYTHING! Instantly my Facebook friends had one question for me:
"Hey Jenny, what is your mailing address?"
So like any good friend would do...I provided them with the info they requested. Next thing I know...I was inundated with packages...packages shipped from all over the country. One amazing gal who lives close by actually drove here to meet us with a truck absolutely full of stuff. Facebook friends have been shopping on Walmart.com and Target.com and having the orders shipped directly to my address. Me and Aaron have been in tears for days now...we just can't believe how amazing people can be in times like this.
Toothpaste and brushes by the case, paper towel rolls by the dozen, cleaning products, soap, dish and laundry detergent, bleach, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, hand sanitizer, all sorts of food, snacks, kids toys, art and craft supplies, garbage bags, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, tissues, sponges, rubber gloves, brand new clothes and shoes, and boots, jeez...just anything and everything that people who lost everything would need! Our hearts were and still are absolutely brimming with joy and we're so proud to have friends like this.
Once we got all this stuff we had to find out how to best distribute it to those who need it the most. We made a bunch of phone calls and looked around for places. And after some research we found that the absolute best venue was pretty much right around the corner form our house. Our local American Legion is set up as a "shopping center" for victims of Hurricane Sandy...but at this shopping center everything is free.
Me and Aaron got together with Aaron's parents, loaded up both of their cars and made several trips over there. When we showed up with our arms loaded with boxes, the volunteers at the American Legion were head over heels thrilled to see us! They were actually running low on goods and were about to start turning the needy people away...until we showed up! They thanked us again and again...and we told them that we're merely the delivery guys...all this stuff comes from our dear friends across the country... from our customers and collectors, people from the art and craft community, church groups, classic car clubs, bloggers...just a whole bunch of really amazing people!
More boxes keep on arriving and we hope that they'll continue to arrive in the days and weeks to come. And as long as they come we'll continue to get the goods into the hands of those who need it the most. It was so great to see. Literally, so much of the stuff didn't even get a chance to hit the table. Before we could even set it down there were people there just waiting to take it. It felt so so good! I went right home and relayed all of this to everyone who had sent us the stuff. I wish they could've been there to experience it first hand. I really can't thank everyone enough for making all of this possible.
Ok, I really just wanted to share this with you guys. I am absolutely exhausted and I can't wait to start having some "normal" days again. It's been one heck of a roller coaster. My emotions have been turned up to ten. I'll keep you guys posted and I'll check back in much more frequently. Thanks so much to all of you for all of your support! Me and Aaron really couldn't be more grateful.
Love from the Jersey Shore