This has been one hell of a week, and it’s not over yet.
For those who don’t know, John and I live at the Jersey Shore. Near the water. We’ve been through mandatory evacuation (packing up and prioritizing your worldly possessions,praying you’ll have a house to return to, followed by the long wait afterwards to get into your neighborhood where they are still running rescue missions;, unpacking and putting your house back in order; and now hunkering down for this, yet another storm that threatens to out our power and heat again, and flood our streets. But truthfully, even that didn’t bother me so much: after all, we have neighbors and friends who have lost possessions, some everything they own. We have heard harrowing tales of escape and survival (thankfully) from people we know: watching the water level rise in their house 5 feet in 45 minutes, midnight rescues after wading through waist-deep water. The people on the next block are still without power and have been cold and in the dark since last week. The way I see it, we got off easy. I feel like I have won the lottery, and keep scrambling and working to find ways to pay it forward.
What’s nagging at me is a disconnect that I see with people in my own state who haven’t been affected by Sandy much, maybe just slightly inconvenienced. In the aftermath, the shock not even worn off yet, I saw online comments like: “Well, it’s just a bunch of millionaire’s Shore homes, why should we get so worried?” I was bombarded by restaurant and bar emails the very next day shouting “We’re open, come in and par-tay! ” But what really started getting to me was this: I also write a nightlife column for a local Camden County paper, and decided that, a full week afterwards, I’d make my theme about how restaurants, nightclubs and bars were helping out with the devastation. And while I was able to find lots of restaurants at the Shore that were already running specials, collecting donations, and creating special events (in addition to recovering from their own loss of power and re-opening tasks) , I was shocked and saddened to find one lonely effort in Philadelphia-and not one in the Camden County area, which was one of the areas least affected by the super-storm.
I hope I am wrong-very,very wrong. I hope I missed hearing about them; after all, we’ve been busy and somewhat isolated. I hope that maybe plans were already in motion and it was too early to announce yet. After all, I just found out about the Lamberti family’s efforts this coming Friday (see below). Below, I will list a few of the efforts that I know of , so you can participate. I also ask that if you know of any events and efforts to help by South Jersey restaurants, let us know and we will list it here or on our Facebook page. Please, please prove me wrong.
- This Friday, November 9th, the Aldo Lamberti family of restaurants will be donating 15% of all lunch and dinner sales to the Sandy relief effort. This includes the Cherry Hill locations (Cafe Aldo Lamberti, Tutti Toscani), Forno Pizza and Grille in Maple Shade, Luna Rossa Biagio Lamberti in Turnersville, Positano Coast in Philly, and Lambertis Cuchina in Feasterville, PA. Reservations and info at www.lambertis.com or call 1-800-2LAMBERTI.
- Harry’s Oyster Bar at Bally’s in Atlantic City has created the off-the-cuff charity “Harry’s Helping Hands” that will directly supply shelters for victims of Sandy in the immediate area. For every person that donates a bag of non-perishable food items, get a dozen oysters for $6. Other desperately -needed items (such as blankets, clothing, personal hygiene supplies, diapers/pull-ups, wipes, etc. will be “weighed”; for the amount of pounds you bring in, receive that dollar amount off your bill (up to $30). If you are a woman and into beer, go there this Friday for a Beer for Babes event:$15 gets you a beer talk and a sample of 4 beers, some munchies, and a good laugh by stand-up comedian Joanne Filan. Dinner/additional food is also available for purchase. You can also make a night of it (beer babes only) with a special room rate at Caesar’s for that night only: $159!!! Book through Jerry Eisenband (JEinsenband@caesars.com or 609-343-2463) Whatever you do, though, don’t come empty handed!
- Also in Atlantic City, Caesar’s Entertainment is taking care of it’s own by setting up “sandy Central” for its employees and local families who are in need because of the storm. Everything from temporary housing to water, food, and personal hygiene supplies is being handed out. Families can go to the walk-in center at 1809 Human Resources Building; First Floor, or call the Sandy Central Hotline at 609-236-6620.
- And one more Atlantic city restaurant, Carmine’s is offering the “Carmine’s Cares” cocktail until Tuesday November 15th. For each blend of Absolut Orient apple, ginger liqueur, cranberry and lemon they sell, Carmine’s will donate $1 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy. Then, the restaurant will match the total funds raised.
- The Iowa Pork Association has parked a truck at the Ocean County YMCA on Whitty Rd. in Toms River and is handing out free pork sandwiches to anyone in need of a meal.
- Fevola’s Pizza in Bayville has been cooking up free pizzas to all families without power since the storm ended.