Kimberly Kravitz Hosts at Monmouth University's 'Rock & Raise' for Hurricane Sandy R

WEST LONG BRANCH--Eleven months later, Hurricane Sandy's Impact is still being felt in New Jersey and Monmouth Univrsity Students want to make sure their classmates don't forget. Student groups hosted an acoustic music festival and raffled a chance to work beside former President Jimmy Carter Friday afternoon during the “Rock ‘N Relief” fundraising event Friday afternoon.

“There are still 500 families without homes in Union Beach, and half of them are senior citizens,” Hawk TV host Joe Lacalanera said. “It is really sad to go to Union Beach – on their waterfront, everything was leveled. You can see places where there used to be homes and businesses, and now there’s nothing.”

Rock ‘N Relief was organized by university TV station Hawk TV, radio station 88.9 WMCX-FM and promoted by the university’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

“We actually had a Habitat For Humanity representative approach us,” PRSSA President Kelly Brockett said. “Union Beach is so close to home, and so many families need help, this is the right thing to do.”

Meg Santalla came to the event because of her love of acoustic music, but appreciated the aim of her fellow students.

“I’m here as a peer supporting my friends, and I actually really enjoy music,” Santalla said. “The good cause is really just a bonus, but it is really important to do something. If we don’t do benefits like this to help repair the area, it isn’t going to come back.”

“Rock `N Relief” was simulcast live, featuring acoustic musical performances by six artists and gave intermittent updates on the condition of the local areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Anthony Serrantonio, of Manalapan, and Megan Van Tine, of Hillsdale, offered candy and other snacks in exchange for donations at a nearby table.

“It isn’t a lot, but we’re doing something good for the community,” Van Tine said. “Habitat is a good cause, without question, and there is a need out there in the aftermath of Sandy.”

The concert raised funds to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Monmouth County in partnership with the 2013 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project. The project, promoted by Monmouth University’s PRSSA chapter, will be part of a weeklong event beginning October 7 in Union Beach.

Monmouth students said Union Beach had not received enough attention in the wake of the storm.

“We just lost power in Manalapan, but there are still so many people in Union Beach still waiting to get back into their homes,” Serrantonio said. “They haven’t gotten a lot of attention.”

Hawk TV host Kimberly Kravitz, who was helping emcee the fundraiser, said Monmouth University shouldn’t forget its place in the community.

“We’re still a part of Monmouth County, a lot of students here belong to that area,” Kravitz said. “I personally know people from Union Beach. A lot of rubbish is still sitting there, a lot of homes are gone, if we can help get people back into homes and help make the community look good, then we’ve done something good for our neighbors.”

Katie Meyer, station manager and executive producer for this event, said “Rock `N Relief” will not only raise awareness about the lasting damage at Union Beach, but will also create unity in Hawk TV and reinforce the community on campus.

“It means a lot to me that we’re raising awareness about Sandy relief efforts because my neighborhood was hit hard by Sandy," said Meyer. "I know what it’s like to live in a construction zone and it’s amazing to me that nothing has been done to over 500 hom​es in Union Beach. I feel their pain.”

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