Local Salvation Army volunteers head to hurricane ravaged NJ; Donations needed

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PITTSBURGH - Several Pittsburgh area volunteers with the Salvation Army left for New Jersey Wednesday to help with Hurricane Sandy relief.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the damage in his state is "incalculable." He and President Barack Obama are expected to tour the hardest hit areas on Wednesday.

Seaside Heights is famous for its boardwalk and rides, but most of the rides have been torn down and sit in the ocean. Hundreds of houses have also been knocked off their foundations.

Michael Riemer is one of the volunteers heading to New Jersey stocked with meals, coffee and other refreshments for those hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.

“I’ll be prepared to make dinner tonight for potentially a few hundred people,” Riemer said. “We are loading up to serve, initially pulling out of here with about 1,000 meals on board, ready to go.”

The group will first head to a staging area in Montclair, N.J., and from there go wherever they are needed most.

“To be able to go out and help them and give them a smile is so rewarding,” Riemer said. “We’ve been very fortunate here in Western Pennsylvania that we didn’t get the brunt of the storm as expected, so we’re now able to fully concentrate on the national effort to help those in need.”

The group plans to be deployed about one week.

Salvation Army officials said monetary donations are needed most at this time.  For more information on how to donate, visit the Salvation Army's website.