By Ukee Washington
VENTNOR, NJ (CBS) — Thousands of people who lost everything to Sandy are now living with families or in hotels. This week, a community of volunteers gathered in Ventnor to quickly get help to those who need it.
On a warm sunny day, the Ventnor Community Building and lawn filled with volunteers wanting to replace what Sandy took away.
The Vargas family used to call Atlantic City home.
“Thanks to FEMA, we’re living in a room, [at a] hotel,” said Victor Vargas. “But we lost everything. We lost furniture. We don’t have hot water.”
The Vargas family came here for help. Three church groups took over the community building at Newport and the beach to create a pop-up distribution center. There were tables and tables of donated canned food. A Florida charity called Deliver The Difference bagged tens of thousands of ready-to-heat pasta dinners. Other volunteers arranged a makeshift clothing store on the lawn.
The volunteers also gave what you couldn’t see. “As the days have gone by, the needs have changed from food to warm clothing to having a person to talk to,” said Pastor James Macabeo of the Way Of Life Assembly Of God congregation.
Visitors were guided by more than 100 volunteers who helped them find what they need.
“I’m here because I have not been able to sleep at night since the storm took place,” said Megan Hart, who organized volunteers from Calvary Assembly of God in Williamstown. “It very easily could have been any of us at any time, so I wanted to help.”
The pastors involved hope to figure out how they can get extra donations to people who can’t travel to them. But for now, they’re making a difference.
“We really appreciate it. That’s all I can say,” said an emotional Leonor Vargas. “Thank you so much.”
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