BELMAR, NJ — Beach access and parking will be free on Labor Day, September 4, as Mayor Matthew Doherty is waiving the $8 daily badge fee and encouraging beach-goers to instead make a donation to the borough's hurricane relief fund.

Collection boxes have been in place since September 1 at every oceanfront entrance for beach-goers who want to contribute to the Belmar Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund for Rockport, Texas.

Restaurants also are joining in the effort, with boxes already located at Stay Gold Café, Sweet Tease, Anchor Tavern, Marina Grille, Jack's Tavern, 3 Brothers Pizza, Coney Island Waffle, Jimmy's Place, Playa Bowls, La Terrazza, Surf Taco, Jersey Shore BBQ and the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh. Also, D'Jais Bar & Grill will be charging a $5 per-person cover charge throughout Labor Day to support the Belmar relief fund, pledging a minimum $5,000 contribution.

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Monies raised through the campaign will be earmarked specifically for residents of Rockport, Texas — a small Gulf Coast town outside Corpus Christi that was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

Doherty said he selected Rockport because of its similarities to Belmar, devastated in many of the same ways when Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Jersey coastline in 2012. “Rockport was in the news in the beginning of the storm, when Hurricane Harvey made its first landfall there,” Doherty said. “It’s very similar to Belmar, being a small coastal town with a population of about 10,000.”

As Rockport now confronts the harsh reality of having to rebuild, Doherty is looking to provide critical financial assistance to the residents themselves. “Through our experience with Superstorm Sandy, we know that after the cameras are gone and the story dies down, the residents are faced with the personal financial impact of it all — how to pay their mortgage, credit cards, cell phone bills, car payments. There’s no money for people struggling with those hardships, which can last for weeks, months and even years,” he said.

Doherty said he plans on flying to Rockport next weekend to present Mayor C.J. Wax with a check from the campaign. “There is no one in a better position than he is to know where the money is most needed.”

For more information on making a donation, contact Doherty at mayor@belmar.com or 732-681-1300.

 

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