A Volunteer’s Story: Christmas Hopes

Children are expecting Santa Claus to be able to deliver their Christmas presents, so my motivation comes from the people I have been serving. I wanted to make a difference on a big scale and I could not do it alone, so I asked for help from those willing and capable. People are apt to be more generous if they know that their donations are being used for the intended purpose and not wasted. I want to thank everyone who has cared enough to give and make a difference in the lives of others. It is hard to keep asking the same people over and over to give, so I wanted to reach out to everyone I could and ask them for their financial support so we can accomplish our goal of granting wishes for the people in Hancock County.

I have already used $3,500 of my own money and am not able to continue on that path without it being a detriment to my daughter and myself, but I am giving in other ways and I will guarantee that all donations will be used directly for the victims in the areas I am working.

Another financial donation option is: The Flemington Jewish Community Center, 40 E. Main Street, Flemington, NJ 08822. Through the assistance of Marty Resnick, owner of the Flemington Deptarment Store in Flemington, NJ, the Rabbi has agreed to accept financial donations on behalf of our relief efforts. The same benefits that we receive from the Red Cross, we receive from the Flemington Jewish Community Center. All checks should be made payable to: F.J.C.C.D.F. and in the memo section it MUST say: "Hancock County Holidays and Community Rebuilding."

We still need financial donations as well as people willing to adopt families and a school for Christmas. The school at 7070 Stennis Airport Road in Hancock County lost all of their gym, art and music equipment. We are adopting this school and will ask for support from the surrounding business communities and residents in all of the areas our relief efforts reach so that anyone who wanted an overall benefit to go towards education, it could. I am in touch with the principal of the school to ensure that communications are in line and their needs are met. Marty Resnick is going to contact Wilson Sports and negotiate the gym equipment.

I was given approval for locking arms with the Hunterdon Medical Center, Flemington, New Jersey as well as the Hunterdon Health & Wellness Center in Whitehouse, New Jersey, the Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington (Jennifer Spieker, VP), and The Flemington Dept. Store (Marty Resnick). Jeannine Calhoun Soccer Training is running a clinic to benefit this relief effort through the use of CJIS (Indoor Soccer Facility in Flemington) , Yamaha of Flemington is offering a major discount and will pay all fees associated with getting a four-wheeler to a small boy in Pearlington, Mississippi who still believes that Santa is going to bring him one.

If we can raise the money, we can keep the spirit of Santa alive for this young man and his family, and many others. His parents are devastated that everything they saved is gone. This could be a family gift. This particular mom and dad have been instrumental in helping their own community and it would be very fitting to do a little extra for them.

Also, there is a radio station, WQRZ that needs financial support. That is the only surviving radio station and their monopoly of a competitor is attempting to take advantage of its misfortune and step on them to take their space on the dial. They need help, especially from the amateur radio fan base and ham radio operators out there! If we can spread the word, we can make a difference and save them. Brice Phillips and Christine Stach built WQRZ from the ground up. They now serve 17,460 households and over 39,000 individuals! Not too shabby for an amateur radio station. To read more about them, click here.

I am collecting "wish lists" from the people in Hancock County. Our community, Hunterdon County, NJ is adopting the county of Hancock and will grant Christmas wishes so that the people can have a joyous and memorable holiday that they otherwise would not have had as a result of this hurricane. People can donate gift cards too. Presents and, of course, money will also make a difference. All gift cards and gifts can be sent to the Flemington Department Store, 151 State Road 31, Flemington, NJ 08822.

I want people to know that their money is going directly to the people. There will not be salaries and waste taken out of any financial donation, as stated above. We also found that by going door to door, people are more willing to accept help. One of the major problems for people is a lack of transportation. I would like to ask all of the major car rental companies to come together and find a way to be able to donate some of the vehicles that they would otherwise auction off.

If we can help the people help themselves, along with educating them in the process, life will return to normal faster and the government would be off the "hot seat" because the American people did their job for them. Then the American people can choose to make a difference when it comes times for elections. Those in government who failed will have to answer for their lack of action. The people will be educated through every process we help them with. The holiday season is not just about giving material gifts, it is about teaching those we serve how they too can make a difference. Life can be better despite this devastation. Most people do not want welfare — they want assistance getting back on their feet. FEMA has this twisted notion that the people will "become dependant." Well, keep neglecting them and they will. Teach them how to care for themselves and how to rebuild and they will flourish and surprise many people, even themselves. I have watched this process in action.

Never did I think that my one initial desire to make a difference would spurn this type of relief effort. We now have support from people in six states and now the potential donor population from this is close to 5,000 people. I am humbled to say the least and extremely proud that God has chosen me as the vehicle for the people of Hancock County. I will continue to be their voice until they can shout on their own.

The power of the storm goes beyond what people have seen. This was a powerful storm in a different kind of way. The people in the Gulf Coast that we have adopted do not look at the world the same way. They are overwhelmed at the support of people 2,500 miles away from them. They never would have thought to leave their small backwoods town to help others in need. Now, if Flemington or other areas in our country had a catastrophe tomorrow, these people would be on our doorsteps in a heartbeat to help us. Taking the power of this storm further, the influence and impact on the children in both of our communities is such that they now look at their fellow man much differently. The children involved in this relief effort and the young children who lived through this ordeal have experienced compassion, grace, and a sense of self. They are empowered and now realize that even though they are young, they can have a significant impact on the lives of others hundreds of miles away.

Yes, this was a powerful storm, in more ways than one. I know I will never be the same person I was before getting involved.

God Bless,


How to Help:



If you have your own FOX Fan Firstand or would like to e-mail us about Elisabeth's story — E-mail us at iwitness@foxnews.com.