Sickles Market, a one-unit upscale independent along the Jersey Shore in Little Silver, N.J., has established an Employee Disaster Fund to assist its employees who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
In an e-mail letter to its customers and friends, owner Bob Sickles wrote, “We have staff here that have lost a lot: homes, vehicles and precious personal possessions. We have done many things here at work to help these employees, but more is needed and I am reaching out to you hoping you can help, knowing many of you need help yourself.”
A dedicated disaster relief page has been set up on the store’s www.Sicklesmarket.com web site, including information on how to donate via PayPal. Sickles has established a dedicated account for the effort at the Little Silver branch of Wells Fargo bank. “All proceeds raised will be held in a separate account at Wells Fargo and equitably distributed to our employees in need. I have personally never had ask for help and neither have they, but I am asking now,” he wrote. Customers were also encouraged to make anonymous donations at the bank office. “No withdrawals can be made except by me,” he said.
To further boost spirits, Sickles said he is reinstituting the store’s Christmas tree lighting. “We stopped our Christmas tree lighting a couple of years ago for a couple of reasons and I think it is appropriate to bring it back, to celebrate the return to power and electricity!” Sickles wrote.
The tree lighting will take place on Dec. 1, and a large stocking will be available where attendees can drop off money or checks, along with donations of food and clothing. “The storm might have destroyed the electrical grid for a brief time, but the thread of human kindness and compassion is unbreakable,” Sickles wrote.
Sickles was up and running immediately after the storm thanks to an industrial size generator Bob Sickles had purchased five years ago. The store was the only business in the area with power for 10 days after the storm. “We owe a big thanks to Lawes Coal Company,” Sickles said. “They kept our generator full of diesel fuel for the entire 10 days. We have had a relationship with Lawes for over 100 years. It is great to be able to depend on local companies and know that they will take care of us.”