48 hours after Superstorm Sandy left the shore area we held a meeting to discuss what and how our radio stations could get involved in the relief effort that would be badly needed. 

Hometown Heroes "Restore The Shore" T shirt (Facebook)

That meeting was held at our new office in downtown Toms River in a building that would be without power for a week or so.  About a dozen of us were going back and forth with ideas and someone said we need a name.

A few things were tossed-out and when Program Director Steve Ardolina said “Restore the Shore” the reaction was positive and swift.  Over the next half an hour we focused in on the direction of our effort and agreed on two main points: we wanted to help as a clearinghouse for information and wanted a fundraising component to help those who live, work and play here.

Of course as you now know there are several projects under the “Restore the Shore” heading and certainly there is a lot of confusion.  We do own the web site, restoretheshore.com and have been using that site for news and information, promotion of events and much more, including the ability to donate to “Hometown Heroes.”  Selecting that 501c3 charity was easy as many of us have a history with them and one of our managers is on their Board of Directors.

I have emceed their recognition dinners in the spring and love the grassroots nature of how they help people in a variety of ways.  Obviously the need for help in post-Sandy recovery is significant and “Hometown Heroes” has had to step up their efforts which they have.

There are many relief programs that you can donate to and I won’t say a bad word about any of them because the need is so great.  However what I can tell you about our “Restore the Shore” project is this: any and all money will go directly to people here who need help and need it now.

Already checks have been distributed to some 65 families for help with everything from food to rental assistance for those displaced, many in need of security deposits they did not have to find a place to live.   Our effort will not rebuild homes but will help keep families in ones damaged by the storm and those who need assistance with utility bills, insurance and much more.

Our goal is to provide help for as many people as possible and every dollar will be accounted for and will stay right here.  It will be a very rough Christmas but through Hometown Heroes Santa Claus will do his best to put a smile on the faces of children even if their address has changed.

So that’s our “Restore the Shore” story and I think it reads pretty well.