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Last-Minute Gifts That Also Help Rebuild After Sandy

Whether focusing on local businesses or donating to charity, there's some last-minute options

Like it isn't hard enough to shop the hours before Christmas. You decided to give yourself the added pressure of doing some good, and helping to rebuild local communities faced with Hurricane Sandy devastation.

It's possible to do both. You can be a Santa who has Sandy on his mind. Here are some gift options that should make holidays merry and bright on two fronts: awesome presents that help the local community.

We've narrowed it down further. Here's some ways to help the Belmar, Manasquan area specifically.

Buy a Board for Belmar.

Belmar is "selling" boards for its boardwalk rebuild, meaning donors will have their names on entrances to the borough's beaches. Why not give your recipients the lifelong opportunity to have their names grace their favorite Belmar beach? Do it online, here.

Art Classes Help Belmar Arts Council

Its building was transformed into a haven for post-hurricane distribution, serving the community as its grappled in the immediate weeks after Hurricane Sandy. But Belmar Arts Council hopes to be up and running in January, and is currently posting the possibility to buy a spot in its regular art classes. Whether the budding artist on your gift list is interested in photography or woodblocking, here's a chance to give the gift of learning while giving back to the Belmar Arts Council. Check out the options, here.

Restaurants Re-open after Sandy, Donate Untold Amount of Food

The bastion of the procrastinating shopper is the gift card. Luckily you can pair your procrastination with a show of support for local restaurants.

Many of these eateries are reeling from Hurricane Sandy devastation to their facilities, but have rebuilt and reopened. Other restaurants were there to donate untold amounts of food to soup kitchens, shelters and other forms of relief.

Buying a gift certificate from these restaurants is a perfect way to give back, while gifting a great meal, too.

100 Percent Cotton and a Percent Toward Hurricane Sandy

Who among us doesn't appreciate a clever, comfy t-shirt as a gift for your wardrobe? Shoppers can do double duty as so many local screenprinters have made designs showing post-Sandy unity, and a portion of the proceeds go to rebuilding efforts.

Consider: True Jersey (Belmar and Toms River), Seven3Two (Belmar), just two of many local shops who've created unique designs.

Buy a Beach Badge for a Devastated Beachfront

Whether or not towns can get their boardwalks and beachfronts tourist-ready before Memorial Day is yet to be seen. They are aggressively planning projects to do so, and few if any towns have decided to cancel their pre-season beach badge sale. In Manasquan and Belmar, both boroughs are reporting a massive uptick in the number of December sales of seasonal badges over last December.

Head over to town hall or visit the borough's respective web sites to purchase badges.

So Many Options: Give a Donation

The practice of giving a donation in the gift recipient's name may make more sense than ever there year, when need is so great. Whether you are looking to give to the church you recognize has been doing so much after Sandy, or donating to one of two trust funds set up to rebuild Manasquan, there is no shortage of options.

Tickets For a Night Out to A Sandy Fundraiser

Bands, theater, and other events are a fun night out. But the January calendar abounds with these events that also double as Hurricane Sandy fundraisers.

For example, A New Day is a gala performance of some big local acts, sharing their rock and jazz chops for the audience, at the Algonquin Arts Theater on Jan. 5. But the event is also helping Manasquan rebuild: All ticket and ad sales from the event will go toward “Manasquan Hurricane Restoration Fund” to help rebuilding Manasquan’s beaches and public facilities. 

There's also United to Restore at the Stone Pony on Dec. 30, and the Shirt Happens benefit at Bar Anticipation Dec. 27, just to name a few.

So there's still time to shop. And still time to help rebuild. And thus some time to make your gift go farther toward happy holidays and months ahead.

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