That's how long I was without power after Tropical Storm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29. Many of you were (or are still) without it for far longer and others were without it for only a day or two.
As I have spoken to many residents the past few weeks in shelters, over the phone, or by the email they had to get to a power source to plug in long enough to send, I told many of them that I was, like them, without power as well. I wasn't sharing that fact to complain, but more to explain that I knew exactly what it was like to be living out of a suitcase for nearly two weeks, wearing the same wardrobe and desperately wanting-for the first time in a while-to actually cook my own meal.
Sandy brought challenges to almost everyone in our area. Whether you waited for three hours in line for gas before rationing began or could not visit the bank or were stuck in the house with your kids who could not go to school for more than a week, the storm affected us all.
In journalism, we rarely use words such as "us," "we," "you," and "I." In fact, there really is not a place for them in most stories. But there is a place for them in this one, and I will tell you why:
I have received a handful of emails from people asking where to make donations to people in need, those whose homes were damaged beyond repair and lost lifetimes worth of items after the storm. If you are one of those people and I have not gotten back to you yet, there are a few options you may want to check out here.
I also want you to know I have done the best I could to update you, both during the storm and after, of any information that may affect your daily life, whether it was school or road closings, power outages or where to seek shelter. As we head into this third week post-storm, if you think there is anything else I need to know, and inform others of, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
You have helped your neighbors in ways that I do not know about. Even though I do not know about them, I know you have. I know this because I have received a few news tips about neighbors helping neighbors and strangers helping others get through these difficult times. I am following up on the situations I have been made aware of, but I know that there are many, many more stories out there that I do not know about yet. If you, or someone you know, has a story like this to share, I would love to hear it and share it with our readers, so please get in touch with me.
Finally, the "we." We, as in Patch, could not have made it through this storm without you, the readers. Without your information, we could not have possibly known about where power outages continued, where coverage should be focused and where to get a hot cup of coffee near Route 202. Seriously though, thank you.
And my sincere hope is that as we begin to move forward with our post-Sandy lives, you continue to provide that same level of information to us, so that we can continue to keep you and your community informed.
Did a neighbor, community volunteer or employee help you during or after the storm? Share your story in the comments, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org