Hometown Heroes charity expands

June 23, 2013 by  

A charity based in Toms River has decided to expand after realizing that it could really make a difference to those affected by crisis. Hometown Heroes has recently helped people in Toms River following Superstorm Sandy. However, as the non-profit organization realized the extent of the help required, it made the decision to expand to Manhattan, Staten Island and Bucks County. Oklahoma also recently suffered following a natural disaster, prompting Michael Schwartz, the founder of Hometown Heroes, to expand there too.

The charity was launched in 2008 and helps people with anything from a few dollars for gas, to thousands of dollars to deal with repairs to property following a disaster. Previously, the organization dealt with a few applications for help every year, to over 1,500 following the impact of Hurricane Sandy. Hometown Heroes started out with just one permanent employee, Jennifer Barna the executive director, but it now has nine paid employees and has moved to larger office premises. One person who is extremely thankful for the help from Hometown Heroes is Ann Marie Saldarelli, who lost all her possessions when Superstorm Sandy hit her home in Toms River, New Jersey. The organization gave her $1,800, which made a huge difference to her.

The charity relies on donations and help from volunteers to maintain the level of help it provides. Charity events that raise funds are often promoted using local banner printing services, spreading the word as far as possible. Although there are no criteria to fulfill, the organization does ask applicants to complete a form so it can prioritize need.