"Alternative Spring Break" helps Sandy victims rebuild in Brigan - NBC40.net

"Alternative Spring Break" helps Sandy victims rebuild in Brigantine

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During Hurricane Sandy, some families in Brigantine lost everything, and in the months since, some of these families say the state has been little help.

Sarah Huff, a Brigantine resident and Sandy victim, told NBC40, "Again, we are 18 months down the road and there are many of us that are still living in secondary homes."

So that's why 28 students from Butler University in Indianapolis have put down the books for the week and picked up the shovels.

Jen Agnew is the Associate Director for Programs for Leadership and Service Education at Butler University and said, "Students opt to take this time during their Spring Break to come out and do service, as opposed to doing whatever else they could be doing during Spring Break...beach...whatever."

Giana Bender is a student volunteer from Butler and told NBC40, "I mean, we love doing the work, it's kind of fun using tools and stuff - but once the families come here, it makes it that much more real."

The students are with a program called "Alternative Spring Break," and are working with local relief groups such as: the Salvation Army, the Atlantic County Long Term Recovery Group, the Fuller Center for Housing, and others, to help Sandy victims who are still struggling to recover.

For the Huff family in Brigantine, they say the state's assistance programs have been a nightmare.

Sarah Huff said, "The local support has been incredible - on state level, not so much."

On Wednesday in Washington D.C., New Jersey’s U.S. Senator Robert Menendez held hearings in front of the senate's committee on housing, transportation and community development, to try to right some of the wrongs he says have been done by officials at the state level.

Senator Menendez said, "Certainly the state made a series of errors. They hired a contractor who charged $50 million dollars, and then got bounced after seven months, and made a disaster out of the program."

Henry Wise, Chairman of the Atlantic County Long Term Recovery Group, said, "Well I'm glad that they took the initiative, I really am. And that they are taking people down there because this is important. The federal government is footing the bill. They need to know where the problems are and what these people are going through to get their lives back together."

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