UPDATE: How Middletown Will Give Back to Oklahoma

After Sandy, volunteers from Oklahoma played a key role in giving comfort.


Upon approval by the state and township for a license, The Port Monmouth Fire Company will donate proceeds of a Super 50-50 drawing on June 29 to the Southern Baptist Convention of Oklahoma, the organization who came to serve hot food in Middletown for the two monhts after Hurricane Sandy.

Port Monmouth Fire is holding a "Hurricane Sandy Thank You Party from noon-5 pm on that day. It is open to the public, with donated food from Middletown restaurants Outback and Sonic, as well as live entertainment. Super 50-50 tickets are $5 each and available in advance or at the day of the event.

Original story, May 21

In the days after Hurricane Sandy, members of the from a tent erected in the parking lot of Saint Mary Church.

As many as 140 of them stayed through November to keep the kitchen going, sleeping on cots in the New Monmouth Baptist Church gym across the street. 

With the memory still fresh of the service provided to Middletown by Oklahoma volunteers, township government leaders are working on a way to help out the victims of the devastating tornado that flattened Moore, Oklahoma yesterday. 

Middletown Township Committeeman Tony Fiore, who was the township mayor during the Oct. 29, 2012 storm and aftermath, said Tuesday morning he and Deputy Mayor Stephanie Murray, the leader of the township Volunteer Corps., have been in "constant contact" with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief coordinators in Oklahoma. 

"We are awaiting a response as to what efforts we can coordinate in terms of supplies or potential manpower to send to Oklahoma," said Fiore in an email. "Deputy Mayor Murray is also in talks with Disaster Relief Oklahoma to potentially have Middletown adopt affected families."  

"In the interim, we are aggressively using our contacts via social media to solicit donations to their efforts," he said. 

Fiore is also the chairman of the Middletown Township Disaster Relief Fund, a non-governmental organization. 

In 2012, Fiore gave the "key to Middletown" to volunteer Dave Carr and representatives of the Oklahoma-based Southern Baptist Convention. 

New Monmouth Baptist Church Deacon Chairman Gary Steidl said that the Southern Baptist Convention volunteers arrived in Moore late Monday afternoon -- the same people who served Middletown. 

"They will be getting back to us shortly as to what they need," said Steidl. "We have offered a team to go out and help, and they have said stand by for now."

Noreen Staples May 21, 2013 at 08:36 PM
God Bless Oklahoma
Paula Iskenderian Guglielmo May 21, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Yes we should give back! Count me in!
Bagodoughnuts May 21, 2013 at 11:51 PM
We are ok and rebuilding. Thanx to those who left there homes and families to help us! Absolutely ! 1000% ! Lets get something going for real! Lets make it BIG ! And not put middletown s hash tag to it! How about raritan bay relief ! Most of us were screwed by local government . Don't let them get there hands on that money!
KSB May 22, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Yes, I love the idea of helping them - but Middletown adopting devastated families??? Are you kidding me??? They can't even help the devastated families of their own township of Middletown. They fine them for debris the bulk service won't pick up, provide no property tax relief or permit relief, etc. I can't tell you how much that statement completely pisses me off! There are STILL people homeless from Superstorm Sandy in Middletown NJ seven months later and they want to adopt other communities? Way to show how politics are more important than the people you govern. Very disappointed in that statement.
Bayratt May 22, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Its time to help those who helped us. I understand we still have a long road ahead of us here in Port Monmouth, BUT I remember the folks from Oklahoma being here for us. I am willing to help in anyway I can.
PortMonMom May 22, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Our home looks the same today as it did days after the storm. It is uninhabitable and 7 months later, we have no beginning of reconstruction in sight. We've watched neighboring towns receive thousands of dollars from companies and are already close to having homes again. We sit and mold. The only real assistance Port Monmouth is receiving is this Relief Fund. Speaking for myself, I have no idea what insurance will be giving me (still) and therefore, can't even submit my application yet. And now we sit and watch them dig into our only source of help and send it out. Knowing what it's like to lose it all, I feel for them, but there are other areas much more suited to help them. I know they helped us, but it was a private group, not city funded, and the state was not in turmoil. I'm sure they will receive their own relief funding, so dont take ours. I feel like a bad guy saying this, but I don't know what to do. This hurts and adds to the feeling of neglect for Port Monmouth. Help our own first.
Tony Fiore May 22, 2013 at 09:38 AM
I would like to make a few clarifications that I think will be helpful. First, the MDRF will not be sending any money raised for Middletown families to Oklahoma. The board and I have been continually trying to raise money for our bayshore. While continue to be successful raising money through community partnerships but the reality is that individual contributors, who were so strong in he beginning, have ceased. We have only received one donation in the past 2.5 months for $50. The reality is people have stopped contributing (or so it seems) to he MDRF. Based on this I don't think it's a bad idea to ask people if they want to contribute to Oklahoma. All donations for Oklahoma will be ear marked for them. The Port Monmouth Fire Co will be collecting the money that anyone wants to send to the victims of this tragedy. If you would like to make a donation you may send it to th Port Monmouth Fire Co or the MDRF. Thank you.
Edward Dooley Jr. May 22, 2013 at 02:01 PM
Noreen Staples May 22, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Mr. Fiore would you care to provide transparency regarding donations received and distributed?(no names of course) It might be a good way to obtain support from your constituents?
Tony Fiore May 22, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Sure Noreen. It's no secret. $89, 000 contribution from David Tepler which was distributed to 890 residents in $100 Target gift cards. Fund has raised approximately $530, 000 in monetary contributions. $160, 000 went to 160 homeowners of most substantially damaged homes in $1000 grants to Home Depot. $15, 000 to Port Monmouth Fire co for rebuilding $15, 000 to Belford Engine Co for rebuilding $325, 000 allocated to new grant program with New Monmouth Baptist Church which is currently ongoing. The rest of money will be used towards our current grant program. There have been other anonymous donations that have gone direct to residents that we were asked to keep anonymous.
commonman May 22, 2013 at 06:49 PM
the idea of middletown famiulies hosting families for OK is the dumbest idea how does sending a family 1600 miles away help them??? esp to a town that is still a shambles itself... seriously who comes up with these ideas? only a person motivated by self publicity. how much $$ would it cost to relocate a family that far think about it pretty insane
Tony Fiore May 22, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Adopt a family in terms of helping a family. Nobody will relocate a family to Middletown. Unbelievable.
commonman May 22, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Thanks for clearing that up still would rather see that money help my neighbors
PortMonMom May 23, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Gift cards to Target? Even Home Depot? First, we didn't receive any, but if we did, it does no good. We can't get our homes rebuilt. Buying a replacement lamp or even lumber is the least of out worries. We need money to pay for the 5 inspectors/engineers at $500+ a pop just to find out what needs to be done to make the home reach code. The hundreds in permits to rebuild... Unless these people and/or the township will accept gift cards to Target, they're kind of useless right now.
PortMonMom May 23, 2013 at 12:42 AM
And I want to add that we ARE one of the "severely damaged homes". We are fighting for the insurance company to pay for our house. They have given us what it would cost to repair, but structural engineers said the house cannot withstand the reconstruction/raising process and must be torn down. The insurance company doesn't want to give is anything else, so we must demo and rebuild with under $100k. Not doable. We put everything we had into this home and now, may have to sell it for next to nothing or go bankrupt. We wouldn't get enough to pay off our mortgage and will walk away with mortgage payments and nowhere to live. If you can solicit donations for someone else, then how about advertising how much the locals still need it. Start a second campaign. Most of the world thinks Sandy is over unless they are living there or decide to take the tourist tour for the roadside attraction we've become.
Bayratt May 23, 2013 at 01:25 AM
Wow.... I understand you being upset Elizabeth, anyone in your shoes would be, BUT the world does not revolve around you! No one is breaking your arms to help the people in Oklahoma, if you do not want to then DON'T. But stop using this comment area to vent. This is for the people who WANT to help. Maybe you didn't have anyone from Oklahoma help you at all when they were here. Thing is THEY did not have to come help us. They did NOT cause Sandy, and they sure as hell did not cause the Tornado. My God lady.. I am sorry but you soud like a spoiled lil brat. Just remember K A R M A what goes round comes round. They helped US now we need to help THEM. Grow up.
Bayshore Resident 50+ May 23, 2013 at 02:34 AM
Forgive me but I'm ignorant on this topic. The volunteer fire dept.'s in our communties are an essential service to us all. Who actually owns the land and structures that these various fire dept.'s are on and why didn't or did Port Monmouth Fire Co. have flood insurance?
PortMonMom May 23, 2013 at 02:52 AM
First, I am an avid volunteer/fundraiser and my husband spent weeks after the storm with his National Guard unit doing rescues up and down the NY&NJ coast knowing he had no home to return to. My story was not a vent but information on where people still stand using my personal info as an example since many don't even know. I have not asked for anything, nor have I received anything. I did get a hot meal from an OK church, but I have also given hot meals and hands to help wherever I can. This was me using a space to let people know that Middletown is not all better, or even close. And this is comments, so any are welcome last I checked. I don't see Seaside, Union Beach, Belmar, LBI or any other hard hit area who received help making grand gestures because they know they're not yet in a place where they can. I'm not saying that we shouldn't help people, I'm saying that when Port Monmouth school still has 20% of its student body homeless, then we should aim at helping Middletown first. Then, we will be more able to help others. And as for kicking someone when they're down, remember K A R M A And as far as what OK did, as stated above, it was a church group. In fact, OK voted against Sandy relief. So gather your friends and head on over.
PortMonMom May 23, 2013 at 03:52 AM
Now, a 50/50 for the church seems reasonable. That was not at all what was implied in the first article.
Bayratt May 23, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Wow.. U still do not get it. Yes Port Monmouth is still a mess, is the state back to 100%? NO. Kudos for you and your husband for helping. That's great. I have family that is still homeless, and yes I suffered loss too. But life does indeed go on. As for the funding... IT WAS NOT in ANY WAY going to come out of the Middletown Sandy relief money. If you were thinking that you are way off. And yes two senators from Oklahoma voted against the Sandy aid. Big deal, I have no faith in Senators, or governors, or the President for that matter. I have no faith in the Government Period. But what I do have faith in are the American citizens, WE help each other. When things are bad.. we help. Not just our own as in our neighborhoods, but across the country. I just do not get why so many people from this area thought that buy helping Oklahoma the money was going to come out of their relief funds. Ridiculous. No offence but living in Port Monmouth for the last 5 years has really opened my eyes to how rude, self centered, and mean people can be. I can not wait to move from here. You are A typical of the people who live here.. out for your self. It sucks your home is a mess, but enough self pity. And maybe ... just maybe Karma is kickin your butt right now.
PortMonMom May 24, 2013 at 01:53 AM
No, honey. I'm happy and was hoping to help the people in my backyard. No bad Karma here. :) You seem like a miserable person looking for drama wherever you go. Hopefully, you head on out of my area. I love my neighbors and town and have pride in them, which is why I want to build them up. You don't fit in with the Port Monmouth folks I know, and that's fine. I'm done with you and your negativity. Move on to your next article to rant on someone else.
Bayratt May 24, 2013 at 02:34 AM
Sweetheart I AM not miserable, JUST a realest. Not looking for DRAMA. quite the opposite And how would YOU know where I go?? I believe in helping people regardless of where. I am VERY happy.. just sick and tired of the unbelievable miserable people that live here. Every one out for themselves. You love your neighbors, but it seems like thats all. Just whats in your little corner of the world. I feel sorry for you. You are just like the rest of the sheep that live here. You are right I do not "fit in with port Monmouth" people.. THANK GOD. I am NOT negative... I was the one who wants to help others NOT YOU! May God have mercy on you.... But then again..you live in a little bubble called Port Monmouth. . And for your info... I have family roots to the area that go way back to the 1700's. So I am more Bayshore area then you will ever be. Just a shame what has happened in this area in the past 20 odd years.


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