New Jersey residents who suffered through Hurricane Sandy are continuing to help victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
The Asbury Park Press reported on residents and groups that are traveling to Texas and Florida to bring supplies, help clear debris and donate money.
As much as supplies, the residents who remember Sandy’s aftermath — and continue to deal with the aftereffects — are offering advice and support to residents who feel alone in their struggle.
"It’s a little traumatic to go down there," Doug Quinn told the newspaper. “There it is, all the piles of people’s stuff right by the side of the road. Everyone is just kinda bumping around like zombies; they are grateful to have people there, but you know they are just spinning their wheels.”
Quinn was in their shoes five years ago when Sandy flooded his home with 3 feet of water, cracking the foundation and forcing him to wade in knee-high water to escape his neighborhood. He’s still renting an apartment several blocks from the site of his former home, which is now just an empty lot.
He’s also traveling to hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods in Texas and Florida to bring needed supplies, along with words of comfort and hope.
"We’re the ones that know, exactly, what it's like," said Quinn, who so far has made two trips to Texas and one to Florida to assist storm survivors. "We know their whole world just changed forever, that the rest of the their life is going to be divided up to before the storm and after the storm."
Groups such as the Friends of Ortley Beach, the Paying it Forward Foundation, and Stop FEMA Now helped gather donations or raise money to pay for gas for trucks heading to disaster areas.
Joan McDonald DeLucia, who has traveled to Texas with a truckload of supplies, will bring more supplies to Marathon and Big Pine Key in Florida soon.
"Just the camaraderie of knowing that someone has been through this," DeLucia said. "It is horrible, but you’re going to get through this."
She tells residents to ask for help wherever they can — local colleges, businesses Americorps, “get anybody you can in there.”
“This is not going to be a month a two,” she tells them. “It’s going to be a long haul. You need big groups to come in and help you."