Hurricane Sandy has had a profound impact on the already stretched capacity for the non-profit organizations operating on the New Jersey shore areas. The area surrounding Long Branch, NJ which includes the adjoining towns of Monmouth Beach and Oceanport was severely damaged by the super storm.
Father Thomas Vala, is a priest at Christ the King Parish in Long Branch, NJ where my wife and I are parishioners. It turns out that Father Thomas also plays the bass guitar for a blue grass band. He and his fellow band mates played a benefit concert to raise money for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Christ the King Conference, to help that organization to assist the needs of those in our community who are struggling to meet basic living expenses.
The concert – benefitting so many
The concert was held in Christ the King Parish Hall in Long Branch, which used to be known as Holy Trinity parish. Father Thomas was joined by his band mates: Gene Rosenow, Larry Steward, Larry Cottrell, Mike Edgerton, Al Suiter, and Glen Borden.
My wife and I purchased tickets to attend the concert and help out a great charitable organization which serves the needs of our parish. The concert was a lot of fun, the band sounded great, and it was fun to see Father Thomas play the bass guitar.
Father Thomas is a significant person to both my wife and I, and he has helped us through some difficult situations we have faced in our respective careers, and with other important life choices. The most difficult of those situations being the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the neighboring town of Sea Bright, where my wife and I had resided for 10 years, and we found ourselves displaced from our home.
Father Thomas gave us some very good counsel and advice when we first went through the transition to our life after the storm. I will always be grateful to him for that, and for being engaged with our situation and truly caring about us.
The band played several blue grass hits as well as country hits from artists such as Johnny Cash. The band is very talented and they can play a range of music very well, it was a very enjoyable concert.
Saint Vincent de Paul Society – providing help & hope
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, according to their website, provides a number of services to those in need with a strict commitment to keep intact the dignity and confidentiality of those who are served.
The Christ the King Conference of the society operates a food pantry and a clothing area for those who are underserved. The organization also provides financial support to some working poor families in the general Long Branch area.
Hurricane Sandy has increased the demand for need on this organization, and they continue to need the support and generosity of donations both monetary and gifts-in-kind to meet the new demand for their services.
In order to learn more about the St. Vincent de Paul Society please go to their web site at: www.svdpusa.org .
This event represented a generous gesture by the band to help those who have been through a devastating and traumatic ordeal with Hurricane Sandy. On a personal note, I will miss Father Thomas, who has been transferred to a new assignment at a parish in Hamilton Square, New Jersey. I will always be grateful for his gifts and talents and the way he enriched the lives of myself and others around him.