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Union Beach Gets Help With Its Recovery

Five months after Superstorm Sandy Union Beach continues its recovery after being devastated by floodwaters and wind.

Shipping container brought to Union Beach to help with cleanup
Shipping container brought to Union Beach to help with cleanup (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

To help with the recovery, two forty-foot shipping containers were donated to the borough to store the massive amount of donation and supplies.

The containers were donated by German shipping company Hapag Lloyd via a personal connection between a member of the Colts Neck relief group Operation Provide Comfort and the shipping company.

While seemingly inconsequential, the two containers will join the additional eight containers previously donated to Union Beach by Japanese based shipping company Yang Ming to provide storage and security for the vast amount of donations and supplies.

“It’s a huge thing for us right now.” Says Borough Administrator Jennifer Maier, referring to Union Beach’s need for storage, noting the containers will hold plumbing supplies, electrical supplies, sheet rock, insulation, plywood, furniture, and appliances.

“We’ll be giving them out quickly but they come in waves.” Says Maier.

Especially with damp late winter/early spring weather, Maier notes keeping all of those supplies dry is imperative.

Shipping container brought to Union Beach to help with cleanup
Shipping container brought to Union Beach to help with cleanup (Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media NJ)

Union Beach was one of the most severely damaged by Sandy. Out of the 2,600 homes within the borough, Maier says 85% were flooded, 200 homes are completely gone, and all of flooded homes needed to be gutted after sustaining several feet of water. She notes people are just starting to get back into their homes.

“We’re trying to supply them with the volunteers to do the installs and the materials that need to be installed.”

The supplies will be distributed to residents and contractors. Maier points out since Union Beach is a working class community, much of the rebuilding is being done by volunteer groups.

“Christian Aid has done a huge amount of work here doing installs. We know they’ve already  been out to the house, figured out what they need and that they’re ready to put it right in.”

Maier notes the borough is on a two year rebuilding plan, part of which involves building modular solar homes for the residents that lost their homes.

“We’re working with the Robin Hood foundation, we’re meeting with the American Red Cross to put in a grant there and the Princeton Foundation just put a grant in for seven million to the New Jersey Sandy Relief Fund.”

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