Damaged Non Profit Draws Gov’s Attention
A Monmouth County charity that rebounded from Superstorm Sandy without government funding gets the attention of Governor Chris Christie. During his visit to Ocean Grove last week, the Governor also stopped by Mary's Place By The Sea.
The nonprofit provides a few days of retreat for female cancer patients for free but in its third year, the four-bed facility in Ocean Grove was damaged by the Sandy, destroying its business office. Mary's Place Founder Michele Gannon said a letter from a family member of one of their guest who passed away, gave them a second wind to rebuild.
According to Gannon, part of the letter read, "I don't know what it's going to take for you to come back and get going again but you need to do it because you're a life line for many who are living in quite desperation."
Gannon said that through generous donors, they were able to rebuild and restore its business office two months after Superstorm Sandy. She recalls one moment when they got a call to go to Mary's Place one evening in December of 2012 when they were near the completion of repairs to its business office.
"We drove up and saw a fire engine here and our hearts sank and off the fire truck is Santa Claus and Santa Claus gave us a computer, a printer, a case of paper and a check for $7,000 and they said get going."
She said they've been busy 24/7 since they reopened and are now in the process of expanding the facility and will be launching a capital campaign in September.
"We will have ten bedrooms with complete bathrooms in each bedroom. We will be handicap accessible. We will continue with everything we do here with oncology message, nutritional counseling, one-on-one counseling with our social workers and then we're going to expand further with a multipurpose room in the new house where we can have guest lecturers in."
Gannon said Governor Christie's aides took a tour of their facility, took some literature and said he'd have his wife Mary Pat, who runs the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, contact them.