The downstream effects of Super Storm Sandy, the hurricane that devastated much of the New Jersey Shore area last fall, are still being felt across the Garden State. Cleanup and recovery costs reportedly are in the billions of dollars and still climbing. For Shore Dreams for Kids, the annual event in Seaside Heights that provides a day of powerboat rides and carnival-style fun for mentally and physically challenged children and adults, that has translated to a shortfall in funding—and more.
This year’s all-volunteer event is slated for Saturday, July 13.
“Our goal is $25,000 in cash—that’s what we need to put on the event,” said Joe Nasso, who was voted in as the president of the non-profit Shore Dreams for Kids organization earlier this year. “We have only raised $4,000. Usually by this time of year, we have three-quarters of the money we need. So obviously we are way short.
“ShopRite has once again committed $30,000 in food,” he continued. “Seaside Heights has committed to having everything ready for us. They are putting in new docks as we speak, and the mayor has been working with the State Police and the Coast Guard to make sure the channel to main water in Barnegat Bay is clear for us on the day of our event. And there are currently two companies contracted to clear debris in the bay, like cars and house, from Sandy. There are six houses gone that are still unaccounted for. They’re out there in the bay somewhere.”
Nasso said the debris in Barnegat Bay creates yet another challenge for the event—that of having enough boats in the water to provide rides for all the attendees who want them. Last year, more than 500 children and adults took rides on boats, all of which were provided at no cost by the boat owners.
“With all the debris that’s still out there, people are hesitant to put their boats in the water,” said Nasso. “I’ve already heard stories of boats losing drives from hitting things underwater.”
While Nasso said the event might have to be “scaled back,” he is confident it will happen.
“We have been getting a lot of calls from the parents of mentally and physically challenged children whose homes were destroyed by Sandy,” he said. “They have been calling us to make sure the event is still happening, just so they can give their kids at least one day of normalcy and fun. That’s why we decided to make it happen and not skip a year.”