DAY 4, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS
(Weehawken, NJ) It’s Friday, four days since we Jerseyans woke up to the nightmare of Superstorm Sandy and still 1.4 million New Jersey residents and businesses are without electricity. One harrowing scene after the other is broadcast on TV and the Internet and those of us with power are not only living through this, we’re seeing what our neighbors just a few miles away are dealing with, and it’s devastating.
There has been so much heartbreak throughout New Jersey, but seeing sections of the Jersey Shore floating in the Atlantic was the saddest. Seaside Heights is gone, just gone. Atlantic City lost sections of its beach and boardwalk and little Asbury Park which has been going through a renaissance took some hard knocks, too. To us Jersey folks, ‘The Shore’ is a living scrapbook of our childhood memories, teenage romances; days away from the urban landscape with friends and time with our kids and their kids who will follow us in our sandy footsteps. Seeing these popular shore places torn to bits has given all us Jerseyans a heavy heart.
I’m going to guess that’s one of the reasons Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi are putting on a show tonight at 8 pm. Hosted by Matt Lauer, Bruce and Jon will be performing live at 30 Rock in New York for a live telethon aired on Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, SyFy, USA and NBC.com.to raise money for the American Red Cross. (To donate, go to www.redcross/org.)
Springsteen and Bon Jovi love their home state and are and doing what they do best to help their fellow Jerseyans (and others) get back on their feet. But it’s not just celebs doing their part.
The sister of a friend in Bayonne was helping an elderly woman, giving her some groceries on her front stoop when a guy pulled up in his car and yelled from his window, “Hey, come here, I got something for you.” My friend’s sister walked to his car and the driver handed her a block of cheese, salami, bread, and other groceries to give to the elderly woman. True story.
Since Tuesday, Sts. Peter and Paul Church on Hudson Street has opened its doors to Hobokenites so they can charge their cell phones and laptops via the church’s generators. The church’s staff, which a friend described as gracious and warm, is even offering coffee and sandwiches.
Also in Hoboken, several restaurants including Karma Café on Washington Street were giving away food to hungry Hobokenites. And the beautiful Loew’s Jersey City movie palace in Journal Square was offering charges for laptops and cellphones for Jersey City folks who sat right down on the sidewalk in front of the theater to charge their batteries.
Sometimes all it takes is a little kindness from strangers to calm our feelings of sadness and anxiety as we pick up the pieces and carry on. For those who have some free time to volunteer and help other Jerseyans get back on their feet, there’s a hotline you can call 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397.) A little kindness to strangers can keep us connected in ways that go beyond a battery charger.