Brick, N.J. — There's nothing like social media when it comes to communicating about a national disaster.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy three weeks ago, Colleen Neur and her husband, of Lake Gaston, started a Facebook campaign, Jersey Shore Relief, to collect donations and to raise money for those who lost their homes and belongings.
"It was so hard to see the television spots, knowing there were places that I grew up in and that I used to go to that were completely under water," Neur said Thursday in Brick, N.J., just west of Seaside – an area that took one of the hardest hits from the storm.
It was difficult for Neur, who is originally from Long Branch, N.J., to imagine not being there to help.
"For me, personally, every day that I sat home in North Carolina, I felt like I was supposed to be here," she said.
This past week, the connection became real as she and others traveled to the Northeast to volunteer with their time. Their goal: to work on three houses in the first three-days of their trip.
"When we brought up the idea of sending a team up here in less than 24 hours, we had four to five people who said, 'We want to go,'" Neur said.
Sheryl Baird, also from the Lake Gaston area, was one of the first to volunteer.
"It pulls at your heart," she said. "I just felt compelled to do something."
They started with an 83-year-old man's house that had been flooded.
"To be standing here and looking at a water line in someone's home that is 3 feet high – and you know that every single thing is gone that they had on the whole first floor of their house – it's devastating," Neur said.
The group took out walls and floors of damaged houses. Although they say the work is grueling, cold and wet, they plan to continue to help as much as they can.
"When you see the things (like this) on TV, you think, 'What could I possibly do to make a difference?'" Baird said. "But then, if everybody would just come and do something – do what you can – you can make a difference."