Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford estimates about 90 percent of the residents in the city have recovered from Superstorm Sandy, and said the city is working diligently to take care of the other 10 percent.
He made these remarks Friday morning, Nov. 30, at the Patsy Wallace Center on Arctic Avenue. He was on hand as representatives from T-Mobile dropped off 500 boxes of food, equaling 14,000 pounds, cleaning supplies and a $10,000 check for the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Southern Branch. Supplies went to aid those impacted by Sandy, which hit Atlantic City directly on Oct. 29.
“If you drive up and down the streets of Atlantic City, you would hardly believe Sandy left any devastation here,” Langford said. “ … That’s a testament to the Public Works crew, which went above and beyond. They did three months worth of work in three weeks. I’d also like to give credit to the citizens of Atlantic City, the volunteers who stepped up and helped. For the residents still in need, we’re going to get through this.”
The city began to get back on its feet almost immediately after the storm hit. Sandy struck the region on Monday, Oct. 29, and by the following Monday, all casinos had been reopened.
“The glass is half full,” Langford said. “As catastrophic as Sandy was, we lost property and possessions, but many of us still have a home to go to, although we were inconvenienced. I was moved by images I saw on TV of people in other communities standing on grounds where their homes used to be. At least we still have our homes. … To have experienced no serious injury and one loss of life (in Atlantic County) is miraculous, and we ought to be thankful.”
Langford didn’t want to minimize the one person in the county who died, saying that one person was “too many.” He also recognized many residents were still without power, and many were still in need of food and cleaning supplies on Friday morning.
According to Langford, Friday’s effort began with his longtime friend Mar’Cia Porter, whose daughter, Angela Porter-Williams, is the Senior Manager of Field Operations for the Great Valley Branch for T-Mobile, the cell phone company whose Atlantic City store was impacted by the storm. Langford’s neighbor is Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Southern Branch Program Director Kimberly Arroyo.
“Mar’Cia stopped me and said T-Mobile wanted to do something for Atlantic City,” Langford said. “So we put together a collaborative effort with the Food Bank to set this up.”
“People are still in need of food,” Arroyo said. “We’re still in a state of recovery. We had a distribution a few weeks ago, and I expect to see some of the same people again. The city is back on, the casinos are reopened, but the people who live here are still working to recover. They’re still working to get their homes back together, and to get back from being displaced.”
The food items delivered on Friday are all non-perishable, according to Arroyo. Residents registered when they came in to the center, and were given one 27-pound box of food and a bucket of cleaning supplies.
“It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a sustainable meal for a few days for people who otherwise wouldn’t have had it,” Arroyo said.
The Food Bank is still receiving checks for disaster relief. A few weeks ago, the to the Food Bank to benefit Sandy victims.
T-Mobile also raised $2,000 toward children's coats, which will be provided to the city's public schools. The company has also pledged $100,000 to the Red Cross, is matching up to another $100,000 for all new donations from its customers, and has partnered with another wireless carrier to provide service for customers on the east coast in the wake of the storm, according to Martin Pisciotti, the Vice President and General Manager of the Great Valley Region.
“We wanted to do something local, and we knew Atlantic City could use the help,” Pisciotti said. “Our operations team started putting together these boxes on Monday. … We want to make sure we stay connected to Mayor Langford and to Atlantic City. We’re looking to help where we can.”
“We’re extremely appreciative of their efforts,” Langford said. “If there’s a silver lining in the cloud that was Sandy, it’s that it brought the community together. The haves, including those in the corporate community, gave up themselves, their time, their efforts and in some cases, their money, to help those less fortunate. Superstorm Sandy gave birth to another degree of humanity.”
Donations continued at the Patsy Wallace Center until 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.