Volunteering in disaster areas is something that’s supposed to take place in far off areas. Hurricanes don’t happen along the quaint coastline of the Jersey Shore and the New York Harbor, home to childhood memories, boardwalks and beaches.
These concepts were shook on Monday, October 29 with the unwelcomed arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
“I volunteered in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina,” said Regina Zick, a sophomore psychology major at The College of New Jersey and a resident of Baldwin in Long Island.
“I had to help demolish the first floor of my house last weekend, and it felt like I was doing community service somewhere else. It was crazy,” said Zick.
Zick’s home suffered two feet of flooding on the first floor, and flooding in the garage and basement. Her family is among an unknown number of families staying with relatives and friends in the storm’s aftermath, their home inhabitable.
Left without a home for an indefinite period of time, Zick, a Bonner Scholar for the Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement at TCNJ, has decided to take a proactive role aiding families in need.
Zick has taken control of coordinating and overseeing volunteer projects for all organizations on campus that want to get involved. The project is being called Here for Home, and their motto is “Building a stronger Jersey.”
Bonner scholars agree that Zick is a great person to get the job done.
“She’s a super organized, task-driven person,” said Leslie Rodriguez, TCNJ freshman, Bonner scholar and Long Island resident.
“Instead of focusing on the problem, she was one of the first people to start the campaign. She had tons of ideas,” said Emily LaRosa, freshman TCNJ student and Bonner scholar.
Zick has set up a Google form that can be accessed from the TCNJ Here for Home Facebook page. The Google document features a calendar that organizations can look at and submit their plans for a relief project.
“A lot of people are contacting us to get their organization involved. Over 250 people are on the mailing list now,” Zick said.
Campus organizations that will be in working with Here for Home include club basketball, the Music Association, the hockey team, Student Government, Circle K, Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, and Psi Chi Fraternity.
“It’s not only Bonner’s project,” Zick said. “We’re trying to get all of TCNJ campus involved.”
Here for Home projects include trips to the shore for clean-ups, rebuilding, and passing out vital items such as food and blankets. On campus events will feature fundraisers, food drives, and sport events in which proceeds will go toward relief efforts.
Among fundraisers that have already begun to take place, Psi Chi Fraternity organized a “Shore Party” that was held in the Brower Student Center on November 19 that featured boardwalk-style games.
Anyone interested in getting involved can visit the Facebook page TCNJ Here for Home or email firstname.lastname@example.org