Reporting Jericka Duncan
By Jericka Duncan
WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) – This is the first Christmas since Superstorm Sandy tore through the East Coast just eight weeks ago.
Sandy upended homes and lives along the New Jersey coastline, but in Wildwood, Sandy couldn’t put a stop to Christmas.
The tree, the decorations and the holiday treats are in place this Christmas for the Sotelo family, but instead of being at home, they are staying at the Days Inn in Wildwood. According to the Days Inn manager, 17 families, mainly from Seaside Heights, are living there because of Hurricane Sandy.
“We were living in Seaside Heights,” Renee Sotelo said. “We were a block away from the boardwalk when the hurricane hit.”
Renee and her husband Brian say the one bedroom with two double beds and a pullout sofa they are currently living in is cramped, but at least, they say, their family is together, and their children had a nice Christmas thanks to Santa and some of his helpers in Wildwood.
“I thought Christmas was going to be a bummer this year, but the way it turned out, it’s awesome,” daughter Megan said.
The Sotelo’s say right now, they are receiving help from FEMA, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
They hope to be out of the Days Inn by January, but with little funds, they say they’re just taking it one day at a time.