November 18, 2013
As Union Beach residents marked the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy this October, stories of determination and perseverance abound. The PSEG Employee Crisis Fund, which the Community Foundation of New Jersey administers, recently surveyed fund recipients and their families to gauge the program’s impact on those recovering from crises.
One PSEG employee described the Hurricane Sandy’s impact on her home and family, as well as her story of recovery. Recounting the aftermath of the storm, she writes:
Waves were rolling down the street carrying railroad ties and decks torn from homes. It swirled through the house knocking down a freezer and carrying sludge mixed with backed up sewage throughout the house. The next day there was slime and mud on everything inside and out…We lost everything from walls, floors, clothes, appliances, heating to doors and wall plugs. The most heartbreaking was the pictures and memories from my children growing up.
She recalled neighbors offering a helping hand – from cups of coffee to a functioning outlet to charge cell phones – and aid organizations providing assistance with immediate needs. But sorting through insurance policy claims proved daunting and many expenses had to be paid out of pocket. Flood insurance coverage excluded anything above the flood line, and she was left to replace many appliances with only partial assistance. In order to restore her home to a tenable condition, she took out loans and endured lengthy wait times for her mortgage company to complete inspection processes, coordinate with inspectors, and send checks by mail. She writes:
[That] took a lot of time, a lot of calls and faxes, and was frustrating as we (4 adults and a dog) were living in the two room addition because there was really nowhere to go. The only way I was able to live and fix my home was to borrow money from a close friend and the generosity of my colleagues at PSE&G.
With assistance from the PSEG Employee Crisis Fund, she was able to make necessary repairs to her home. Funds also helped with daily expenses like food, clothes, and extra utilities. By March 2013, her home was restored to livable conditions. While some things can never be replaced, she and her children are pressing onward. She writes, “We still have work to do, but are thankful for things like a kitchen sink.”
PSEG’s Employee Crisis Fund provides direct assistance to employees and their families in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or catastrophic event. The Fund was established in 2009, with help from the Community Foundation. To learn more about the PSEG Employee Crisis Fund, to support the fund, or to create a crisis fund for your own company, contact Faith Krueger at 973-267-5533.