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On the Ninth Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, a New Jersey client shares his story.

These are words from Jim Smith, a client we served in Brick Township, New Jersey in 2017. His home was severely damaged when Hurricane Sandy hit nine years ago today.

Our home was not just your regular home. It grew with us. I bought the ugliest home on the block and rebuilt it with my own two hands, learning how to build as I went along. It was my family’s pride and joy.

The SBP team at work in Brick Township, New Jersey

My wife and I have three children, one of whom, Riley, was born with fluid on his brain and was diagnosed with a pulmonary lung disorder and compromised immune system. Our home was truly a safe haven for him.

When Sandy hit, our home was devastated and we lost all of our possessions. We moved between relatives. We tried to pay rent while also paying our mortgage and just couldn’t do it. We repaired a small room in the house and moved the family back, hoping to save enough money so we could repair the rest, but that didn’t work either.

The Smith Family trailer.

Eventually, we moved into a trailer and parked it in our driveway. We kept running into red tape and roadblocks. We feared we would completely lose our home and our life’s work. Over four years had passed, and we didn’t see a path forward.

We were stumbling and at the end of the road.

But then, a miracle happened. We met these wonderful people at SBP. Not just one or two people but an entire group that lifted us up and helped us get back on our feet.

The first Smith family dinner home with members from the SBP team.

We learned as a family that there are beautiful and caring people still left in this world. That they have a common goal to work together to help because they know that the value of a family home is priceless.

Here’s what’s happened in our family since you helped us move back home:

  • Our son Riley has his safe haven back. I am forever grateful that he had a place to heal during the darkest days of the pandemic. Currently, he is happy and healthier than he has ever been. Today is his 21st birthday, and he has a bright future ahead.
  • Our daughter Kirstin completed her nursing degree and currently is a frontline warrior against covid19.
  • Our son Shaun is following in his sister’s footsteps and finishing nursing school.
  • My wife is also a frontline warrior, serving as a nurse in the same facility as her daughter. She battled through a breast cancer diagnosis during the peak of the pandemic and underwent surgery last year. All is well at this point, and she was also blessed to come home to a beautiful home to heal.

Our lives are forever changed because someone at SBP looked me in the eye and asked “how can we help you?” after so many people did not.