The Real Meaning of Jersey Strong
For the last week or so, Hoboken living has taken on a surreal quality. (Try scooping cat poop by flashlight…fun!). It is heartbreaking to see the curbside piles of waterlogged stuff that line every street. It is also nerve wracking to worry about running out of gas, cash, and flashlight batteries.
The smell of burning oil and carbon monoxide from generators is indescribable. And that’s before you get a whiff of raw sewage.
The week of October 30 was supposed to mean cute kids in Halloween costumes and deciding whether to go vote dressed as a Binder Full of Women or Unemployed Big Bird. Instead, we have FEMA forms, insurance claims, and interminable gas lines. Throughout all of this, I take comfort in how our community has banded together to help one another.
Today, I went to Hoboken City Hall, and was directed to the municipal courtroom. The line of volunteers was almost out the door. (Medical personnel and Spanish speakers were in particular demand.)
I went with 3 other people on a “fact-finding mission” to a large apartment building, one of many in Hoboken that was still without power. We were given a list of people who may need help, and told to knock on their doors and check on them. If the people didn’t answer, we were to knock on their neighbor’s door, and ask if their neighbor had seen them.
The people were relieved to see us. One woman had Alzheimer’s disease. She mentioned her brother who lived one floor up, but could not tell us his name or his apartment number. Another older gentleman needed someone to come and give him his weekly injection of a drug that required refrigeration. The office of the home healthcare service that does this was relocated due to flooding. He usually gets his injection on Thursday, but the service was unable to keep this week’s appointment; it was now Saturday.
We let the residents know where they could get prescriptions filled, obtain ice, and recharge their phones. If they were unable to do these things for themselves, we were to make note of it and tell the workers at City Hall, so that they could send help.
Food Trucks and Taking Charge
Up and down Washington Street, Hoboken’s main drag, a few people were handing out free food (tuna sandwiches and water), some of which was hot (Mexican chicken and rice). Food trucks and a hot dog cart were also open for business. On the next street over, anyone with power put out power strips and a few chairs, so that people could charge their phones, tablets, and laptops. Some even had coffee.
Facebook friends are posting status updates and making their homes (along with showers, hot food, and adult beverages) available to those who are still without.
To me, scenes like this say…We are resilient, we stick together and help each other out… we are Jersey Strong!
p.s. View my Hurricane Sandy photo album on Facebook.