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More than a year after Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, there are still families in the Ironbound who will not be “home for the holidays”!
From the very beginning ICC has been working hand in hand with families affected by Hurricane Sandy. From our work immediately after the storm mobilizing relief efforts to more than 800 families, to our present work helping families who are still suffering from the impact of the Hurricane, ICC continues to be a lighthouse for support to Hurricane victims in our community.
Hurricane Sandy hit all of Essex County pretty hard, but especially so for a small community of families living in an isolated part of Ironbound, known as “the island”, where a man drowned during the storm. These families, mostly low-income and blue collar workers, fled their homes as rising waters from the Passaic River on one end and the Newark Bay on the other, invaded their homes with over 8 feet of polluted water, sewage, and oil from surrounding industries.
These families were vulnerable before Sandy. The storm only made matters worse.
A native of Venezuela, Helen moved to the Ironbound 23 years ago
Meet Helen Gradziel…
During Hurricane Sandy, Helen’s apartment was completely flooded and remained undrained for days. Helen lived in her water-damaged apartment throughout the winter without heat or electricity and sought no assistance until ICC reached out to her and others in her neighborhood in later months.
Because of the massive water damage, most of Helen’s possessions were tossed. Already struggling financially, after the storm the setbacks were astronomical. As a renter FEMA would only off her a payment equal to one month’s rent. Then Helen lost her husband. With the loss of his income she fell further into financial difficulties. With no transportation and speaking little English, her job opportunities are limited.
ICC has stepped in to assist Helen. We’ve worked side by side with her as we have with many others.
Perhaps the biggest benefit that Helen has received from ICC has been the free mental health counseling offered to all hurricane victims. The meetings have helped her connect with others overcoming similar challenges. The sessions have also allowed her to grieve the loss of her husband in a supportive environment.
“Thanks to ICC and the support I get from the dedicated and friendly staff, I am able to flourish once again. It hasn’t been a dramatic change, but little by little things are getting better. I am so grateful for everything they do.”
Since Hurricane Sandy, ICC has been working tirelessly, not only to help families on a case by case basis but also develop a plan that will strengthen and prepare the community as a whole for its next potential disaster. To this end, ICC with the support of funders like Citibank, Prudential, the Robin Hood Foundation, the American Red Cross and Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund, has developed a holistic approach to disaster relief support.
ICC has also partnered with other local agencies to develop an Essex County Long Term Recovery Group to coordinate aid to underserved communities throughout Essex County.
This Holiday Season Give the Gift of Hope…
Give to ICC and help us continue our work in 2014…
When you support ICC, you help hundreds of families receive much needed support and services. Your donation ensures that programs like our early childhood and education services, family support services and neighborhood revitalization programs are available to help families and communities thrive in the Ironbound.
Please consider making a yearend gift to ICC!
*Your gift may be tax deductible!
Please give today.
*ICC is an IRS recognized 501c(3) nonprofit organization. If you itemize your tax return, your yearend gift may be tax deductible. To learn more please call your tax professional. To learn more about ways to give, please contact our Development Office at 973-589-3353 ext. 209.
To learn more about our work, visit at us www.ironbound.org.
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Ironbound Community Corporation | 179 Van Buren Street | Newark | NJ | 07105