Jen Pecoraro, Stockton University
I have spent every summer in Long Beach Island since I was about five years old. There is just something special about rolling all the windows down and driving over the Manahawkin Bay Bridge that makes me the happiest I have ever been. It may not have a boardwalk like Seaside Heights or Wildwood, but it has so much more. One of my favorite things to do is drive through the different boroughs seeing how each one is unique in its own way. For example, there are the beautiful private gated in homes that inhibit most of Harvey Cedars and Barnegat Light; and the popular amusement park and little shops in Beach Haven. This 18 mile island has a huge piece of my heart, as I am sure it does for many other people.
There is always such a positive energy that surrounded the locals living there, something I will always love. But in 2012, there was a devastation so big it changed the happy, carefree attitude of the island. Superstorm Sandy, a Category 1 Hurricane, whipped through the southern part of the island, destroying everything in its path. What will always inspire me that when one would expect to see nothing but suffering, Long Beach Island had a different feeling. In wake of the traumatic devastation that occurred to our beloved island, Jetty, a popular East Coast surfing brand with roots in Manahawkin, began to think of ways to help the community. Just days after the storm, with the help of their amazing screen printing staff at Jetty Ink, the company sold thousands of Sandy Relief shirts, donating the profits back to those affected by the storm. Because of their startling launch, Jetty was able to partner with great organizations such as Waves for Water, S.T.A.R.T., Ergophobia’s Restore the Shore, and many others. There is even a documentary highlighting the efforts made by all the volunteers, Landfall: The Eyes of Sandy. Jetty took a community full of sadness and distress and made them closer than they ever were before.
Prior to Hurricane Sandy, and the official formation of the Jetty Rock Foundation, the company had already led multiple charitable functions opportunities such as Coquina Jam, Hurricane Katrina Relief, Brain Games and Putt for a Nutt. They have since expanded to hold events such as Hop Sauce Festival, Crabbin’ for a Cure, Eskimo Outreach and the Community Bridge Walk.
Since that Fall of 2012, the Jetty Rock Foundation has significantly grown with the goal help as many people as they possible can. They continue to partner with new organizations, spreading awareness and raising money to donate back to the community. The Future Leaders entrepreneurship program is one example of a partnership Jetty developed with the Southern Regional High School. This program helps students hone their skills in marketing, design and sales by having them create their own products to sell. The great part about this program is all the money earned from the products gets donated back to a charity of the students choosing.
In addition, Jetty Rock also focuses on connecting everyone from across different communities. They have successfully been able bring people together through art, photography, film, and theater, further enriching the lives of the various cultures around the East Coast. The funds they raise go towards promoting the events, and keeping the different values alive in our societies.
Lastly, just recently, the Jetty Rock Foundation took on another project; the Oyster Recycling Program. Due to many environmental and human factors the water quality has decreased, and so has the amount of Eastern Oysters in the Barnegat Bay. With the help of their new documentary, The Oyster Farmers, the Jetty Rock Foundation is increasing the awareness of this problem, and helping preserve the Baymen’s heritage of the LBI Region. This program supports the first manmade Tuckerton Reef, while increasing the quality of the water so the aquatic creatures can flourish.
Throughout the different arms of the brand, Jetty succeeds in helping their community as much as possible. This organization is unique in the sense that while building their business, they built personal relationships with people, expanded their knowledge and made it their duty to help protect the coastal waters which is so closely tied to their mission.
Click Here if you would like to donate to this remarkable foundation that focuses on improving our communities from natural destruction and shaping the young minds of the futures of America.