By Jessica Dean
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Nearly one year after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Jersey Shore, people are still working to rebuild and move forward.
In the middle of it all is the state’s First Lady, Mary Pat Christie.
In an Eyewitness News Exclusive, CBS 3’s Jessica Dean spoke with her about the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and how you can help.
For Mary Pat Christie, it’s personal.
“These are our people and we feel strongly about the people of New Jersey,” Christie said.
“We’re coming up on the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, it left a physical impact, but also an emotional one. Why is it important to mark this anniversary?” Dean asked.
“We talked about all different kinds of ways to commemorate it and some people said celebrate and I said it’s not really a celebration, but I do think it is a day to remember what the state went through and really honor the people who have sacrificed so much to help the state rebuild,” she said.
And New Jersey’s First Lady wants to give them some helping hands. She’s leading Sandy Service Days on October 26 and 29, asking people to donate their time to help rebuild.
“When my husband gave me this task two days after the Hurricane, and did it in about a 30 second phone call and hung up. He gave me the number of a lawyer and said ‘go to work.’ And I took it very seriously,” she said.
So far, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund raised $38 million — $25 million has been allocated to non-profit organizations that focus on issues like mental health, financial help, legal assistance and home rebuilding.
But some people have criticized the Relief Fund for not releasing the money quickly enough.
“It’s really important that you have folks on the ground that know the people that are affected and that to me is more important than getting the money out the door fast,” Christie said.
“As we look back at the year, how did this impact the Christie family?” Dean asked.
“That’s a really good question. We really lived the first eight days at the Governor’s residence because there was a small generator there and I think the children really saw how their father could rise to the occasion and be a tremendous leader and be a real example to them,” Christie said.
And now they hope to make a different kind of impact, showing what can be done when a state joins together to rebuild.
For more information, visit the link below:
Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund- https://sandynjrelieffund.org/