The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will set up a disaster recovery center at the Bayonne Community Museum, located at 229 Broadway (on the corner of Ninth Street). FEMA will open the center there on Saturday, Dec. 1. It will be open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., until further notice. This new center will replace the temporary FEMA location that had operated at City Hall. The deadline for registering with FEMA for disaster relief is Dec. 31.
Chamber to Charity event at Winners Bayonne
The Bayonne Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Chamber to Charity function on Dec. 12 at Winners, located at 400 Route 440 in Bayonne. All of the proceeds will be donated to the local food pantries in Bayonne.
Continuing a program to partner with local charities that it started several years ago, the Bayonne Chamber of Commerce gave $5,100 in gift cards to local food pantries last year helping bolster their ability to help the neediest people in the community.
Newly-installed Chamber President Vincent Virga picked up where former president Matt Dorans left off by giving cards to a dozen local food pantries.
Although Virga has been very involved in community outreach in the 3rd Ward over the last few years, this is his first effort as the president of the chamber. It is also part of a tradition started several years ago by Dorans, who envisioned the chamber as becoming more involved in local charity events. Three years ago, the chamber helped generate support for the Assumption Food Pantry. Two years ago, it held a fundraiser to support the efforts of the United Cerebral Palsy organization of Hudson County.
Dorans called it “networking for a good cause,” noting that it helps business people get a better understanding of what the charity is about, and allows them to give back.
In his role as a community leader in the Third Ward, Virga is also holding his annual “Miracle on 34th Street” Food, Toy and Clothing Drive, culminating with a Photo with Santa Day on Saturday, Dec. 15.
“We will have Santa here taking photos, giving out goodies such as hot chocolate, coffee, candy canes, donuts and cookies from Judicke’s Bakery from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will continue to have collections up until Christmas Eve. This year’s benefactor of the collection will be the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation. Ana Quintela is doing such an incredible job over there that we wanted to help in any way possible to try to ease her burden post-storm and pre-holiday season,” said Virga.
Sires requests increased disaster assistance for recovery
On Nov. 20, Congressman Albio Sires, along with 44 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, sent a letter to President Obama requesting additional funding for federal disaster assistance programs, as well as an extension of the 100 percent cost share of disaster assistance to states and local governments by the federal government. The letter was sent as a result of diminishing funds available in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Disaster Relief Fund.
“Hurricane Sandy took the lives of more than 100 Americans, destroyed homes and businesses, crippled infrastructure and devastated a large portion of the East Coast,” expressed Sires. “We must rebuild our communities in the most efficient manner possible. We cannot wait years for the restoration to begin. It is imperative that more funding is readily available to local and state governments to cover the necessary costs for complete recovery.”
Specifically, Sires and his colleagues urged the Office of Management and Budget to submit an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, pursuant to the Budget Control Act, to provide emergency aid for federal disaster assistant programs. Additionally, it was requested that the Administration extend current provisions for 100 percent reimbursement for a full 30 days after the disaster and expand these provisions to cover all direct federal assistance. The letter also advocated for the President to take into consideration the full scope of recovery assistance when preparing the Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal.
“A full recovery will require disaster assistance programs through a number of agencies and departments across the entire federal government- not just FEMA,” stated Sires. “In addition to providing increased and immediate monetary assistance now, it is critical that in preparation for the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, the President and Congress must factor in the financial resources that will be necessary to meet ongoing recovery needs.”
Musical holiday treat
The Hand in Hand Music School will hold its annual Hand in Hand for the Holiday winter concert, which will benefit its scholarship program.
The concert starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2 at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 141 Broadway near Fifth Street. Tickets are $15. The event will feature classical, jazz, and popular music for organ, flute, jazz ensemble, strings, and holiday vocals by the school’s staff and other professionals.