Post-Sandy Charity Gives Victims Holiday Gifts [AUDIO]
Gina Crevier, who grew up in Toms River, watched in horror as her beloved hometown was in the cross-hairs of Sandy's destruction.
Though her family lives in North Jersey, they still regularly vacation down the Jersey Shore. As she and her husband, Gary, saw the devastation, they decided to take action.
They packed up food and grills, and headed to Toms River to make meals for the storm victims. Basically, the Creviers wanted to do anything they could do to pitch in.
Word spread quickly about the barbecue, and a local little league offered their facilities to accommodate the effort. All told, more than 300 people received meals from them after the storm.
Following the cookout, with the help of Facebook and friends, Robin Beaudry and Lisa Vergona, the initial offering grew up into something a whole lot bigger. It was decided to begin adopting families to help with their holiday gifts.
The group formed Jersey Shore Gift Givers. Crevier says old friends and people around the country began donating to the cause, providing an overwhelming amount of money and resources, in a very short time.
"To help these people is more important that anything I can think of right now," Crevier said.
This Sunday, the group will head down to the shore to hand out gifts to more than 100 kids in the Brick and Toms River area. Trucks will be made to look like sleds, and friends and family will dress up in holiday costumes. And most importantly, storm victims will receive some holiday cheer, gifts and a chance for parents to have a brief respite from the recent struggles.
"Some people don't even have a tree. They have no money to even buy a Christmas tree because they are so devastated," she explained.
The first part of Sunday, December 23rd, Jersey Shore Gift Givers will deliver gifts to families in the Brick and Silverton areas. From there, an event will be held for the rest of the adopted families at Toms River East Little League with Santa, food, gifts, and goodie bags.
"Our overall goal is to have families enjoy Christmas, and to give a little normalcy to these kids that have been turned upside down."
Because of the overwhelming response to the idea, Crevier says that the charity will become a yearly fixture, helping Shore-area families during the holidays.
"They're trying to figure out how to put sheet-rock back up and get mold removed from their homes, where they're going to live. The last thing they need to worry about is, 'Can I afford presents for my kids.' That's what we wanted to take care of," she explained.
In addition to just gifts, the group will also be paying for utility bills of families that are struggling to rebuild.
Learn more about Jersey Shore Gift Givers and how you can help by checking out their Facebook page.