“TOMS RIVER – Drawing inspiration from Bruce Springsteen’s song, “We Take Care of Our Own,” Ocean County’s Long-Term Recovery Group has launched a fundraising campaign to help get more superstorm Sandy victims back home.
Springsteen gave permission for the recovery group to use his song title for the fundraising campaign, and also allowed it to create a video of images from Sandy and use the song as background music, said Long-Term Recovery Group Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer.
“We asked to use it for one year, and they allowed us to use it for five years,” said Fischer, who first met Springsteen back in the mid-1980s, when The Boss lent a hand in the unsuccessful attempt to prevent the shutdown of 3M’s Freehold Township plant.
Fischer was then president of Local 8-760 of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, which represented 3M workers. Springsteen gave $25,000 to the effort to fight the plant closing, played at a benefit show at the Stone Pony, and signed newspapers ads that tried to convince 3M to keep the plant open.
Fischer kept in touch with Springsteen and his organization over the years, and recently reached out to his management team, asking if the long-term recovery group could use “We Take Care of Our Own” for the fundraising campaign.
The long-term recovery group is using the video to kick off its “We Take Care of our Own Adopt-a-Family” campaign, aimed at raising money from corporations, local businesses, fraternal organizations and the public in an effort to help get more Sandy victims back in their homes.
The campaign will feature profiles of families who are still struggling three and a half years after Sandy made landfall. The group is also urging people to contribute to the group’s page in the OceanFirst challenge. The top three fundraising groups will receive grants from the OceanFirst Foundation.
So far, the recovery group, an umbrella organization of more than 80 nonprofits, has distributed about $5.8 million to Sandy victims, paying for everything from rental assistance while their homes were being repaired to gaps in funding that were preventing their projects from being completed.
Recovery Group Executive Director Sue Marticek said that local nonprofits are tapped out in many cases, and no longer have the money to contribute to the Sandy recovery. But hundreds of families still need help to get back home.
She said that using the song can help draw attention to the plight of the many residents who are still not home.
“It fits in with what we need to do,” she said. “We have been taking care of our own. We need to find a map to get these families back home. At least Bruce Springsteen is aware that this recovery is still going on.”
Marticek said that by trimming staff and stretching out its funding, the recovery group should be able to continue operating through the end of the year.
The song’s lyrics include a lament for the broken promises in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans: “From the shotgun shack to the Superdome/ There ain’t no help, the cavalry stayed home.”
“We need to personalize, we need to humanize what’s going on,” Fischer said Thursday at the monthly meeting of the recovery group, an umbrella organization of more than 80 nonprofits that has worked to provide money and volunteer labor that helps fill gaps between a homeowners’ resources and the actual cost of rebuilding.
He said that when he mentioned Sandy victims still struggling to return home while on a recent vacation, people he spoke to were shocked that the Shore’s recovery is not yet complete.
“Everybody thinks this is over,” Fischer said.
Jean Mikle: 732-643-4050, firstname.lastname@example.org”