It’s no secret that after Hurricane Sandy many New Jerseyans are in need of help to rebuild destroyed or damaged homes. New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie has helped to create the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund to fill the financial gap left by insurance companies and FEMA. Christie told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that donations have been pouring in from thousands of donors.
Christie said a few days after the hurricane hit, the governor called her, saying they had to do something and he was going to put her in charge of creating a 501(c)(3). The relief fund was created and has successfully been taking in money since.
“We’ve had tremendous outpouring from all over the country,” she said. “I got on the phones quickly and we also have our website which has taken in probably close to a million and a half dollars, all from individuals donating $50 and $100. You get the big checks once in a while too out of there, but what’s remarkable is that we have over 7,000 online donors.”
The purpose of the money raised is to assist hurricane victims beyond the money they receive from insurance and FEMA. “When you have a disaster like a hurricane, the victims will get FEMA checks and they’ll get their own insurance checks and then there will be a huge gap between what insurance covers and what FEMA covers,” Christie said. “So to help these people rebuild their homes and rebuild their lives we are going to focus on gap funding.”
Christie explained that organizers of the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund consulted with people who went through hurricanes in Florida and Hurricane Katrina and realized gap funding was a real need.
The goal is to start dispersing the money quickly. Christie said the group is looking to create long-term voluntary recovery teams in various counties. She said another goal is to encourage the use of mental health services.
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