NORTH WILDWOOD, N.J. (WPVI) --For the last decade, the nonprofit Children's Fresh Air Home in North Wildwood, New Jersey, has sat gutted and empty at the corner of 11th and Surf Avenue.
For more than 100 years before that, the home was host to 20,000 disadvantaged kids from Philadelphia and South Jersey, who got a free taste of life at the Jersey Shore.
"A lot of kids that come here never saw the ocean, never were on a beach before. It's hard to explain to people who come here all the time, but they come here and they love it here," said Tony Deutsch, watchthetramcar.com.
The aging house had to be shut down in 2006 when the foundation was sinking into the ground. That was fixed by raising it, but now there's a chance to finish the job if the Children's Fresh Air Home can raise $300,000 to match a state grant the city has applied for.
"We are asking people to please dip into your heart and your pockets, and help us accomplish this," said Angel Daniels, Children's Fresh Air Home.
The deadline to raise the money is fast approaching, it's the end of April. Board members hope donors will come through so they don't miss this opportunity.
The home has set up a GoFundMe account and social media outlets in the area are publicizing the cause.
"I'm not aware of any other program in the state or anywhere on the East Coast where underprivileged children are given the opportunity to spend time at the beach, and this is a unique opportunity," said Mayor Patrick Rosenello (R-North Wildwood).
Day trips the organization runs now just aren't the same as a one- or two-week stay, and the Children's Fresh Air Home is working hard to raise the money with one goal in mind.
"We can finish this project and open the doors and start serving children in this building again," said Daniels.
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