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October 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Takes on New Meaning After Sandy

When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast at the end of October, Belmar, New Jersey was one of the hardest-hit communities. Schools closed for almost two weeks, but members of the community banded together in order to help each other rebuild.

Originally published November 21, 2012

Because their town has not yet fully recovered from the effects of the storm, residents of Belmar are seeing a whole new meaning in “Thanksgiving”. Some students from the area shared their thoughts on how this holiday season will be different from any one they’ve experienced before.

GimenaGimena, 5th grade

Thankfully, my family and house are OK after the hurricane, but when I listen to all my classmates’ stories I feel devastated. This storm has changed our town too. The day after the storm, we went to the beach and I started crying. All I could see was the torn up boardwalk and the playground that was now gone. I was sad because I loved going to our playground and meeting new friends. I wondered about all the little babies that won’t be able to play there like I once did.

This Thanksgiving will be different because most kids in our area might not be able to see their relatives. Many families don’t have food, water or even a home. Some families won’t have the tradition of eating a Thanksgiving feast this year. They might not even be able to take pictures for memories because they don’t even have cameras.

Hopefully everything will get better for us all soon. As my brother said after the storm, “We are Jersey Strong.”

Josie, 8th gradeJosie

Imagine looking out your window and instead of seeing your usual front yard you see a massive tidal wave barreling down the street. You run outside and watch the water rise, wondering when it will stop.

Watching that wave come was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. I live right across the street from the First Aid building, so I thought I was in good hands. When I noticed them leaving and taking all the ambulances I knew we were all alone. The water finally stopped rising at about 9:00 p.m. The following day we couldn’t leave the house. The water was contaminated with sewage. After four days, the town finally drained it. We were finally able to look at our basement, and more importantly go to see my grandma who lives right on the water.

Sadly, our basement was flooded, but it got worse when I visited my grandma’s house. Her house was flooded completely through. Devastation was all around us.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I know it is going to be totally different this year. Many members of my family were affected and aren’t able to come for Thanksgiving this year. I am grateful to be able to sit with my family, though, and I am most grateful that everyone is OK. We can only pray that something like this will never happen again.

Tommy, 8th gradeTommy

After the recent storm, my life has changed so much. I have not been able to live in my home. Since we could not live in our home, we could not take care of my sister’s fish. Therefore, the fish died a slow death of starvation.

My family hopes to be back home by Christmas, but I know things won’t be back to normal for a while. Thankfully, my Thanksgiving will not change too much. We usually go to my grandmother’s house in Freehold, and we plan to do the same this year.

For my classmates, things may be different. I believe that everyone will have a happy Thanksgiving anyway.

This Thanksgiving, I am most grateful to see my whole family. It has been rough the last few weeks, but I hope that this will bring us all together and we can have a great Thanksgiving.

Shayla, 7th gradeShayla

My life has changed a lot since the recent storm. My house was completely ruined. We had to get rescued. It was really scary. My family and I had to stay at a freezing cold shelter for two days. We went back to the house, and I saw the devastation. We went inside the house, and there garbage was everywhere. We had a hole in our roof. The hole was the size of almost my whole back end of the house. It was really scary and sad.

Thanksgiving will really be different for us. We will go around the table and say what we are thankful for. This year we are thankful for a lot. I am most grateful for having my family and animals. I am thankful that they are safe.

Alice, 8th gradeAlice

My life has changed dramatically because of this storm. I have lost my hot water heater, furnace, washer, dryer and basically my whole basement. For the past three weeks we have torn out the ceiling, the walls and everything in my basement.

My mom lost all of her childhood memories from her varsity letters to her scrapbooks. I lost all my childhood pictures and family videos. Due to gas leaks and oil leaks, my house is basically unlivable.

Now I am living at my grandparents’ house thirty minutes away and will probably stay there until December. My life has changed because I realize what I really do need, and what is just simply a want.

Thanksgiving will not be that different for me this year since my grandma’s house was left undamaged, but it will be different for many of the families which are now homeless. I was fortunate to have my grandma’s house close to mine so I could stay there, but sadly there are many, many more people who now have no home because of the storm. It is our duty to help them be as happy as they can this Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for a warm house to stay in, a family and warm food. I wish everyone the best of luck and hope that all families have a warm place to go this Thanksgiving.

Leonardo, 5th gradeLeonardo

Life was changed for me because my house got flooded. So now we will have to live with our aunts for probably a month. Mostly all of our stuff got lost in the storm. We lost our brand new couch, two beds and most of our clothes. Some of our clothes survived, but all of our shoes and sneakers got washed away with our sweatshirts and coats. I feel unhappy.

This year Thanksgiving will be different because we usually have Thanksgiving at our house but now we can’t because we’re staying at our aunts. If our house did not get flooded we would have had Thanksgiving at our house. I still feel unhappy, but I am thankful for being safe.

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