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Volunteers Offer Support To Southern Ocean County

Saturday's community clean up proved to be successful, with more than 1000 volunteers.

More than 1,000 volunteers aided in a clean up held Saturday on Long Beach Island and the surrounding areas, including Tuckerton Beach, Cedar Run, West Creek, Stafford Township and Barnegat.

Although the attendance via Facebook was confirmed to be approximately 1000 people neither Todd Stone, creator of the event,  or Chris Huch, Executive Director of Alliance for A Living Ocean, could believe the amount of people that participated. 

"Not only the amount of people showing up is impressive, but the amount of supplies they brought is overwhelming, people from all over the state and all over the region," Huch told Patch.

Volunteers gathered outside Farias Surf and Sport. The Jersey Shore Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation provided coffee and donuts for the morning meeting.  

After Hurricane Sandy the majority of cleanup supplies that ALO had stockpiled were wiped out, but several organizations and volunteers, including Jetty, came in and supplied the majority of the the necessities for cleaning. 

Vanessa Lombardo, of Barnegat, told Patch, "we're really excited, when we pulled up we didn't realize how many people would be here." 

Stone and Huch set to determine locations for each group. Some people were sent to specific homes and others were sent to regions of marshland that were rampant with debris from Sandy.  While Huch doled out supplies to each set of people, Stone continued to locate more places that volunteers were able to work. 

The volunteers worked in an efficient and speedy manner, aiming to help as many people as possible within the day. 

 "I had a group of girls call three separate times looking for more places to help," Stone said. 

One volunteer, Rick Harmening, returned from serving overseas a week prior. He looked forward to helping safely deconstruct homes that suffered from the most serious damage, maintaining that safety was a major priority. 

"This community is amazing,"said Amy Williams, President of ALO.  

From 9 a.m. until around 2 p.m. volunteers tackled taking down parts of homes, collecting debris, cleaning up Barnegat Bay and overall improving morale across the board. 

June Roderick, of Jacqueline Ave in Holgate, came to Farias the morning of the event seeking help. Her husband was recently placed in a nursing home due to a degenerative disease and was in desperate need of assistance.  

"They came in and they just did everything," June said of the volunteers that came down to Holgate to help her.  She gave special credit to Stone for taking the initiative to create this event.  

At the concluding barbecue, food was provided by Jetty and Shore Fire Grille, with music supplied by MK Productions at Mud City Crab House.

More than $1,700 was raised via raffle tickets for the Beach Haven Fire Department.

Prizes awarded included 2 GoPro HD cameras, a $100 gift card to Plantation, 2 $100 gift cards to Tula the Boutique, 2  $100 gift certificates to Oskar Huber Furniture, 2 season passes for Thundering Surf, a custom made Alia from PaPa Planes and 2 hand-crafted hand planes also donated by PaPa Planes.  

Pat Dengler and Sharon Dailey of Ship Bottom followed up the clean up with an email to the participants that read: "It was so very much appreciated by these 2 'over the hill" ladies. A major chore turned into a fun and friendly gathering."

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