Sandy turned the once calm Raritan Bay into a weapon against the homes and businesses nestled along the shore, destroying entire communities with high waters and powerful waves.
As the relief efforts continue, the Matawan PBA Local 179 wants to help make sure that communities like Cliffwood Beach, Keyport, Union Beach and Keansburg receive the help they need.
"The issue is you have local people donating money but it's not coming back to our own community," said Matawan Lt. Jason Gallo.
Gallo, his wife Kathi and a fellow officer Chris Stark were talking about this when they came up with the Restore the Bayshore initiative, Gallo explained. They spoke to Officer Andrew Marsala, the PBA Local 179 president, and decided to partner both organizations.
Within a few days, the page had received over 400 'likes' and several users expressed interest in hosting an event or fundraiser for the cause, including an annual women's soccer tournament which normally supports Lymphoma and Leukemia.
Restore the Bayshore is also in the process of making up stickers, t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts that will be available on the group's Facebook page.
The money raised will help homeowners and small businesses with the odds and ends that they need, but may not be covered by insurance, Gallo explained.
"We're looking to help people and organizations and small businesses get back up on their feet with the little things," he said.
Gallo noted that because Matawan suffered mostly from power outages, it was important to help out others who were devastated by the storm.
"While the other towns are busy rebuilding, this is what we can try to do to help them. They can't do this right now, they're still cleaning up," he said.
Restore the Bayshore is still a young organization which is in the process of being designated as a 501(c)3 charity. Gallo hopes that they will be able to partner with an established non-profit such as the RAINE Foundation. A board will be set up led by Janet Gallo, a life-long resident from Keyport.
Although Restore the Bayshore has the full support of the PBA, Gallo explained that the charity will be run by a board of trustees separate from the police department.