"These are people who have already had tremendous struggles in the first place," said the Rev. Collins Days Sr., pastor of Second Baptist Church, which helped distribute supplies over the weekend.
"Tough times and being without is nothing new to them. But we realize it could have been a whole lot worse, and we are not as bad off as our neighbors to the north," he said. "There's a lot of help out there, and they are grateful to it and to God."
Tolbert counts himself among the thankful.
"As long as you have your life, and we do," he said. "At least nobody lost their lives; people could easily have drowned."Farther north on the Jersey shore, they did; at least four deaths attributable to the storm involved people who drowned in their homes. Waiting in line for a hot creamed chicken meal in a plastic foam tray from a Red Cross truck a block away from Revel, Charles Barnes counted himself lucky. "We are truly blessed," said Barnes, whose home was badly damaged in the storm when winds tore a hole in the roof. He said he still had no electricity two weeks after the storm hit; he has been rooting through debris piles since the storm looking for scrap metal to haul to a junkyard for a few dollars. "You have to help yourself sometimes," Barnes said. "We're all in this together, and we need to help each other." Several people in line at the Red Cross food truck said they were collecting meals not for themselves, but to carry to elderly and sick people in nearby high-rise apartments who are unable to fend for themselves. Arlene Ciambrano, a senior citizen, was coughing and sweating profusely as she waited patiently for a meal tray from the truck. She has had no heat since the storm and came down with a cold and a fever that she fears have grown into something worse since then.