The Michael P. Callahan Chapter 955 in Wildwood , along with its partner, American Legion Post 184 in Wildwood, recently recognized that there was a desperate need for local relief assistance. After the blizzard at the end of January, snow piled up as high as thirty to forty inches throughout the region. Especially hard hit were coastal areas, where record-setting ocean tides, strong northeast winds, and snow accumulations threatened the Jersey Shore, an area still not recovered from the devastating effects of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy
The chapter converted a large meeting room into a supply depot for local residents. The hall helped more than 500 people, some who had lost everything in the flood.
More than 24 veterans and community members volunteered from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, including weekends. Haroula and Joe Rotondi, Lisa Russo, Joe Manzoni, Tracy and Harry Fesler, Vince DePrinzio, and Jane Shell spent substantial parts of that two-week period working in the hall. So did AVVA members Sue Casey, Nat Peacock, Phyllis Bethel, Kathi Weimar, and Nancy Wesley.
The community stepped up by donating goods and volunteering its time. Goods arrived every day and included clothing, non-perishable food, all types of baby items and food, as well as cleaning supplies. When items such as water and baby supplies ran low, volunteers made calls and used Facebook to re-supply.
As a result of this community effort, a committee of veterans and community members has been formed so that VVA will be ready to activate another relief effort should the need arise.
Bill Davenport is president of Michael P. Callahan Chapter 955 in Wildwood, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org