After a burglary earlier this summer, a heart attack in August, and now Sandy hurling three trees at her house, Forked River resident Jackie Vilichka is wondering if she is being tested.
"I look up [at the sky] sometimes and say, 'Lord, are you testing me?'" Vilichka told Patch. But then, she said, she then gets her answer, in the form of her friends from King of King Church in Stafford Township. "The main help I have gotten has been from the elders at King of Kings, so He answers me."
Vilichka was one of dozens of people making their way to King of Kings earlier this week, to pick up some of the goods that have been donated for people who need a hand during this trying time. The entire site - including two trailers in the back parking lot - is stocked with items that are being dropped off, inspected, stocked and then distributed to residents who are in need.
Vilichka said she could use a hand. She said she has an insurance policy, but her claims adjuster - whom she says is located in Florida and has not come to see her property - wants to settle her claim for $11,000. She estimates her damage to be much more. When she asked for additional funds, she was told to go to FEMA, but she said she is expecting to be frustrated there as well, as she is expecting to be told her insurance should cover the damage.
For now, she has a tarp over her bed, keeping the rain water out of her bedroom. She is sleeping on the first floor of her house, and accepting help in the form of her friends at King of Kings.
One of those friends, King of Kings volunteer Lisa Erskine, of Barnegat, told Patch that she "came in to drop off stuff about 8 days ago, and I have been back every day since. I just feel like God's calling me to do this right now."
Erskine has been busy at work organizing the massive pile of donations, and was at work on Tuesday condensing some of the donations into items that could be sent out to other areas in need. She said King of Kings "really needs boy's clothing - from 5T up to 10 - and men's jeans."
King of Kings Assistant Pastor Mike Dryburgh said they are assisting about 200 people per day, who are escorted through the maze of food, clothing and other goods and pick what they need. He said peanut butter has been flying out of the shelter - since it is hearty food that does not need to be refrigerated. Also, space heaters have been exiting the building as quickly as entering. "Firewood is also going quickly," he said.
In addition to clothing, peanut butter, firewood, and spacer heaters, Dryburgh said it is getting to the point where monetary donations are also needed. "Not everyone wants to address it, but not every need is met through clothing and food."
He said he has been deeply touched by the outpouring of support from the community - noting one woman who drove to King of Kings from Massachusetts to provide space heaters - and he understands when people like Vilichka say they are frustrated.
His sermons - which he has been delivering in a Baptist church in town because King of Kings is full - have centered in recent weeks on helping one another, and developing a better relationship with God.
"I think sometimes maybe He is trying to get our attention," Dryburgh said. But, Dryburgh said, God also reminds people He is present by bringing out the good - like all those who are donating their time and efforts - following a disaster.