As South Orange marks Thanksgiving, it's hard not to think back two weeks to Sandy's destruction. What sticks with this Patch editor is not the darkness and destruction of late October, but the community's remarkable generosit.
The South Orange Public Library opened its doors almost as soon as the wind blew through and stayed open for warmth, power and good cheer. . And the library staff was unfailingly cheerful though they too went home to dark, cold houses.
Morrow Church lived up to the Methodist Church slogan, "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" by serving as many as 600 meals daily and keeping hundreds of us from the community warm, powered up, and entertained. The church fed the masses from donations, including treats from Cupcake Corral.
Neighbors who were once strangers hosted one another, shared power across streets, and even posted signs offering to charge phones. Audley Street threw an impromtu Halloween for its youngest residents, when trick-or-treating was deferred.
SOPAC opened its doors to the community, and many residents walked through the doors for a warm welcome and a place to work. Likewise, as the power returned, Seton Hall offered an evening "off," for kids and adults to regroup and recharge. Anthony Garubo offered free hair wash and dry.
This list is far, far from comprehensive. Our elected officials worked tirelessly on our behalf, advocating for South Orange. Neighbors helped one another in a dozen different ways. Power crews came from all over the nation to restore our juice. And town fire, police and public works staff were the local heroes who kept (and keep) us safe on good days and bad.
Yes, Sandy left heartbreaking damage around the state and in our community. However, on Thanksgiving, at least, I'm looking at the gallery of help we gave one another. And it's heartwarming, even on a chilly, November day.
Happy Thanksgiving, South Orange!