Bankers pledge money, time to Coastal Habitat to rebuild from Sandy
By Dan Radel
MANASQUAN — Coastal Habitat for Humanity is getting a boost from local banks to help the organization meet its goal of rebuilding 100 Sandy-damaged homes by next spring.
"I'm fairly handy," joked James S. Vaccaro, president of Manasquan Savings Bank, who found himself in a different role Tuesday, hammering floor boards instead of managing bank accounts.
"Whether we're building banking relationships or houses, it's all our commitment to the community," Vaccaro said. "We're privileged to participate, it's part and parcel of who we are."
He was joined by nine other Manasquan Savings Bank employees who volunteered their time with the Coastal Habitat crew to help build a floor in a First Avenue home that was flooded by last October's superstorm.
Aside from bringing their carpentry skills to the table, Manasquan Savings Bank also ponied up $100 per volunteer. The bank will be donating that money to Coastal Habitat to help them meet its goal of restoring 100 Sandy damaged homes in 18 towns.
"We're doing 100 homes this year. We plan on doing it for five to seven years," said Maureen Mulligan, executive director of Coastal Habitat for Humanity.
Mulligan's ultimate goal is help rebuild or restore 700 Sandy-damaged houses through their Coastal Habitat Restore program.
Manasquan Savings Bank is just one of 22 banks in New Jersey that will be donating money and volunteers to help with Coastal Habitat's initiative this year. The banking effort was coordinated by the New Jersey Bankers Association, a statewide trade association.
"We're marshaling resources to help in the recovery," said Michael Affuso, vice president of the association. "Every bank has pledged $100 per participant."
The NJBA announced Tuesday at a kick-off party for the banking initiative held at Stockton Lake Park in the borough that it will pool $25,000 for Coastal Habitat. That money that will be raised by the 22 individual banks participating.
Homeowners who would like to have their homes restored in the Coastal Habitat Restore program have to meet certain income requirements, Mulligan said. If a homeowner qualifies, Coastal Habitat will come and do an assessment of the home.
Coastal Habitat will supply labor costs while homeowners pay for the material.