Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

SEA BRIGHT RISING, ONE GIFT CARD AT A TIME

Ilene Winters and Chris Wood reviewing requests for help from Sea Bright Rising in Wood’s office Thursday. Below, a mudline shows the height of the water that inundated homes and businesses in town during Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Nearly 70 days after Hurricane Sandy washed the Atlantic Ocean into his Sea Bright restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood hunkered down with Ilene Winters in his loft office, sifting through aid requests from residents whose homes were flooded or destroyed in the storm.

The two executives of Sea Bright Rising were prioritizing applications for help with repair and replacement expenses from their neighbors as part of an effort to dole out nearly $500,000 in donations collected in the aftermath of the October 29 storm.

“We need two things from those reaching out to us: specificity and priority,” Wood said. “We don’t give out direct personal checks, cash or Visa cards, but we are more than happy to write checks to contractors, landlords or electricians for a portion –usually around 25 percent, of their bill, for example. We can’t write a check for ‘help’.”

Among the charitable organizations that arose in the wake of Sandy, the one Sea Bright residents have been able to lean on perhaps more than any other is a home-grown effort dedicated to the town’s return from the wreckage.

In terms of community outreach, involvement, and most importantly, results, it’s doing the job, its founders say. And in a period in which many Sandy-related charities are losing steam, Wood and Winters insist theirs is just getting started.

Wood, a soft-voiced but commanding presence who quickly conjured both a temporary tent city as well as a juggernaut charitable organization from the storm’s wreckage, co-manages Sea Bright Rising with Winters. Like Wood, she’s a seasoned Wall Street vet, but also has extensive experience with non-profits. She founded and subsequently became the executive director of the Cancer Support Community of the Jersey Shore – an organization she started after her mother was diagnosed with stage-4 ovarian cancer. Because of her experience, Winters was called in to help run Sea Bright Rising, working with residents, officials and the borough itself since the earliest days of Sandy recovery.

To generate funds, Sea Bright Rising has hosted fundraising events such as the ‘Beach Bash’ in Long Branch last month, and charity concerts, including VH1’s ‘Christmas in Sea Bright’ featuring Grammy Award winners Train. Two checks of $100,000 have come in from donors who asked not to be identified, said Wood.

At a recent Sea Bright council meeting, Winters laid out Sea Bright Rising’s three-step approach to recovery efforts.

“First of all, we are helping residents and anyone who lived in Sea Bright get what they need to get back on their feet,” she said. “Then we’ll move on to assisting local businesses, and finally we’ll attempt to help the overall infrastructure of the town in any way possible.”

According to Winters and Wood, who sat down with redbankgreen in their unofficial headquarters above Woody’s this week, only residents have applied for aid thus far, filing 60 requests. Wood stressed the need for a direct approach from applicants.

“We’ll give out gift cards and vouchers to Raymour and Flanigan if they need new furniture or bedding, or Home Depot and Target if they need supplies or pots and pans,” he said. “But we need to get specific requests from people, as well as what they need most, in order to do what we can to assist them as much as possible.”

Although there is no specific limit on aid in individual cases, the average amount of aid given is somewhere around $3,000, with over $150,000 funds doled out to around fifty families so far, said Wood. He and Winters said they are willing to offer aid in any way possible.

Donations may be made, and applications for aid found at Sea Bright Rising’s website or at Sea Bright Borough Hall.

Though it’s been two months since Sandy smashed into town, Sea Bright Rising has no plans on slowing down or letting up, according to it’s founders.

“People need to know that, basically, if you’re from Sea Bright and you were affected by the storm, we’re the people you need to talk to. We’re here to help,” Wood said.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
GOING GREY
Workers painting the stone facade of the PNC Bank at the corner of Broad and Harding Thursday morning. An upgrade? Maybe it’s just pri ...
COFFEE & WILDLIFE
RED BANK: The best wildlife show in town can be taken in from a waterfront bench outside the public library, and it's totally free.
FAWNING OVER HER BABY
A mother deer and her fawn were spotted between a row of garages on Hudson Avenue and some trees alongside the Broad Street parking lots. Re ...
EVENING ESCAPE
RED BANK: Sailors in Monmouth Boat Club's weekly racing series found tranquil conditions on the Navesink River Tuesday evening.
PEAK COLOR ON BROAD
RED BANK: A year after they were installed, downtown mini gardens have added to "transformational" improvements, says business owner.
RED BANK: FAIRIES MOVE IN ON WHITE STREET
Red Bank: Girl scouts turns tiny parking lot plot of dirt into a "magical girls sparkle garden."
TRAINING UNDER FIRE
RED BANK: Volunteer firefighters train to cut into pitched roofs under active fire conditions.
“SUPERMOM” WANTS YOUR VOTE
Business owner. Dyed in the wool, lifelong Red Banker. Mother of six. Yup, seems like Anita Pierce does it all. In other words, she’s ...
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
RED BANK: Town prepares for Saturday's Pride in the Park celebration with another lawn art design by public works supervisor and Fire Chief ...
MOVIES VIA LIBRARY
RED BANK: Public Library now offers members access to streaming movies via Kanopy, with some 30,000 titles and tons of content for kids.
NEW RAINBOW CROSSWALK ON BROWN PLACE
Kicking off pride month, some Brown Place and Spring Street residents, ages 5 to 11, constructed a rainbow crosswalk with chalk over the wee ...
WHAT TO WEAR?
RED BANK: Dressmakers' mannequins appeared to mull what to wear as they looked down on Monmouth Street last week.
SYMPHONY RETURNS JUNE 29
RED BANK: An annual crowd pleaser returns June 29 with a free concert in Marine Park by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, RiverCenter said ...
Heard on the Green
Heard on the Green
DUCK RESCUE EFFORT
Duckling rescue attempt underway in sewer at East Front and Broad, 10:29 a.m.
HOUSING CRUNCH
Demolition begins for new apartments at Globe Court and Mechanic Street.
FEELING SNAPPY
      Snapping Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs this time of year and are a common site along the Swimming River waterfr ...
TUB TIME
RED BANK: A sparrow waits for the next available dirt tub while two others take their Sunday baths. (Click for video.)
CHECK IT OUT
A bench outside the Red Bank Public Library provided a serene view of our beautiful Navesink River Monday evening.
WAYWARD SLIM JIM
Anybody lose a Slim Jim? A “Sweet Mild O’ Mine” flavor Slim Jim was seen left unattended on this mailbox on Mechanic Stree ...