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After Ida remnants ravaged a nonprofit dedicated to helping US service members, support pours in

A nonprofit dedicated to supporting the men and women serving in the nation’s armed forces received an outpouring of support after its New Jersey headquarters was devastated by remnants of Hurricane Ida last month.   

Aside from a few metal tables, nothing inside Operation Jersey Cares’ 4,500-square-foot headquarters in Raritan was salvageable after what was left of Ida ripped through New Jersey, Dana Gooditis, the board secretary and head of fundraising, told Fox News. Since 2007, the nonprofit has been packing and shipping supplies to active service members overseas as well as helping them adjust to civilian life. 

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Ida’s remains hit the Northeast with stunning fury, submerging cars, swamping subway stations and basement apartments and drowning scores of people in five states. One of its victims was Raritan Plaza, the strip mall where the nonprofit’s headquarters was located. 

Operation Jersey Cares headquarters in Raritan, New Jersey.  

Operation Jersey Cares headquarters in Raritan, New Jersey.  
(Operation Jersey Cares President Rosemary Fleming)

The organization shared images on Facebook of the devastation the storm caused to its headquarters, saying it was “a great loss” to the organization and asking for prayers and support from the community. 

“We were not in a flood zone either, so none of us had flood insurance to recoup anything that was lost,” Gooditis said. “So we are now relying on just the will of the people, trying to get the money in, trying to get the product in.”

Fortunately, support poured in.

Not only did the nonprofit receive thousands of dollars in donations, but it also received support in the form of physical labor. Still, the organization says much more is needed.

Private citizens and local companies came in droves to help Operation Jersey Cares temporarily move to a nearby barn donated by a local company so the nonprofit could continue collecting supplies and holding packing events for troops.  

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“It’s our way of giving back today to those that served,” Gooditis said, adding that their team of volunteers “put in 40 hours a week.”  

Operation Jersey Cares headquarters in Raritan, New Jersey.  

Operation Jersey Cares headquarters in Raritan, New Jersey.  
(Operation Jersey Cares President Rosemary Fleming)

Gooditis, who spends roughly 60 hours a week just “to make sure the mission keeps going,” said the organization “can’t stay in a barn forever” and has to figure out where to go next. 

Over the last 14 years the organization has gained support from “pharma companies, corporate companies, financial companies, small mom and pop shops and then the local community,” Gooditis said. 

So when they were devastated by Ida, many of them “came and rallied around us.”

“We have this motto: one team, one fight. And when we do that and when we ask for all hands on deck, we do get good support from the community,” Gooditis said.

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