Volunteer teams dedicated to Sandy rebuilding effort

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. - November 2, 2013

Paula Belotta, a school teacher from Ortley Beach, is thrilled with her newly restored home.

She had serious damage to her place after Sandy and her insurance settlement didn't cover the cost of repairs.

Belotta needed help and turned to an all-volunteer group called "We Are Team Jersey."

"Help to rebuild, put floors down, walls, everything - brought generators because we had no power here till June," said Belotta.

During the last year, more than 2,000 "We Are Team Jersey" volunteers have worked for free helping to gut and repair over 250 homes.

"We logged more than 15,000 hours in the last year of strictly just volunteers willing to show up and offer whatever help they can," said Tracy Turner, president of "We Are Team Jersey."

They are just one of dozens of online aid groups that formed after Sandy.

Shannon Ruvelas started it on Facebook with a few friends who saw the need and went to work.

"How could you not? There's no drive, it is what it is. There's people in need and they need help. There's really no science to it, you just have to help," said Ruvelas, founder of "We Are Team Jersey."

Many storm victims have found it difficult to ask for assistance.

"It's hard it's really hard but it also makes you so grateful and that's the best thing that's come out of the storm," said Belotta.

For Nicki Cordi, the owner of the only preschool near Seaside Heights, help from "We Are Team Jersey" has meant getting back in her rental space and back in business.

"The painting was just phenomenal. That in itself was great because we didn't have to worry about it. They did it all and it was great," said Cordi, owner of Ultimate Scholars II

"We Are Team Jersey" leaders say they'll probably be busy for years. Even when the Sandy work has ended, they still plan to continue because there's always someone who needs help.

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