‘‘It gave us hope. I feel that was almost like a sign that everything is going to be OK and hopefully we can rebuild,’’ she said.
Jeannette Van Houten is working in her hometown of Union Beach, posting photographs on Facebook and spreading news by word of mouth in the town, which was decimated by the storm.
Van Houten’s home was destroyed, and she wanted to find pictures of her niece, who was killed in 2008. Van Houten knew there were others who needed that tangible memory of a person back, so she started collecting photos and items wherever she could find them and enlisting others to do the same. She has been working with the Union Beach police department to reconnect people with things found in the town. Van Houten did find photographs of her niece.
‘‘Sandy can take our structures. It can take our possessions,’’ Van Houten said. ‘‘But it can’t have our memories.’’