Old Borough Hall Open for FREEBIES – UPDATED

We’ve all heard about the donations, here is your chance to look through the old firehouse on Bay Ave and see what you might need.

TIMES: Thursday 3/21 from 11a-2p and Sunday 3/24 from 10-2p.

(They mentioned this at the town hall meeting on Monday night, there wasn’t any mention on what was left, I’m guessing there are no beds or washing machines)

UPDATE: just back from distribution center aka old fire dept aka old borough hall

You aren’t allowed in to look, you have to stand behind the blue tarp and tell them exactly what you are looking for. (Which can I add that wasn’t represented in the town hall meeting, people were supposed to have access..)

There appears to be a lot of toiletries, cleaning stuff, none of which I need. There was also 1 dryer for anyone that needs it (top load), I need construction stuff, dry wall, Spackle, maybe some spackling tools – I was told they weren’t giving those types of things out, I had to go to the Solution Center (Drink) and put it on my resident needs form. (Which it already is) Meanwhile there is buckets of HD spackle which they denied having right behind them. Also saw some counter tops and what looked like drywall to the left.

Here’s a thought, why not post what stuff you are giving away, i.e. toilet paper, tooth brushes, brooms first come first serve 1 per household, instead of wasting people’s time to stop there only to be told, go to the solution center (drink).


THIS WAS POSTED LAST NIGHT 3/22 – Does anyone but me see the humor in this?


  1. Now for us newcomers….the old firehouse on Bay Avenue is not the same place as the old boro hall on Bay Ave?


    • not sure if you are serious but for those who might be confused- the two are one in the same location which now equals distribuion center


    • I was being serious….I know the police station was (is?) in that building, but I didn’t know it was the “Old Firehouse.” I thought it was where I used to go to pay my sewer bill!


    • Police station is currently where the most poilice are located. The police do have a new temporary home in the office trailer pop up park. As to how you missed the fire engines when you went to town hall is a matter best dealt with between you and your physician.


    • I thought the Fire Department was on Shore Drive where Boro Hall used to be….and I still don’t know what that other building is down one of those side streets that sure looks like a fire house to me.


    • Across from Laura’s there are garages which way before you and I lived here used to have fire trucks, to the right of the garages is a door that opened to a hallway that went to the municipal offices, PD & Court.


  2. funny. . . around 12 or so i saw two ppl walking with boxes of stuff from there. no sooner did i turn around was the doors closed. this is new meaning to the phrase “shop local”


  3. An interesting note. There were apparently many complaints about how the “distribution” at the Distribution center were being handled. Many people were told that they couldnt go in and just look around to see what they could use or need.

    However, other more privelidged people(Friends, family, and those that people running the distribution center like) were allowed to stroll around and take whatever they want.

    Also it is a fact that certain items were being hoarded and kept out of view of the general public. For instance, did anyone know that at one time they had comforter sets, brand new blue jeans, and new boots down there? Only if you knew someone that knew about this, or you were told, would you know to ask for certain items that were hidden in the back of the old firehouse.

    Certain items, water and the like, were for some people told to be “rationed”, while others walked away with cases.

    It seems there is no end to the “Good ‘Ol Boy” system in this town. Its shameful that it even applies to donated items that are supposed to be available to everyone, and not just a select few. However, this is in fact what has been happening.


    • Every time I hear about things like this…I don’t know who to be more mad at – my grandparents for taking so long to get out of Ireland and not heading straight for Highlands or myself for having the nerve to dare move out of state because I thought things would be better somewhere else! Shame on both of us for not living in Highlands for the past 100 years and actually having any kind of ambition.


    • It seems common and the natural state of the world that those who know, have, and those who have, always appear to know more than those who don’t have. Whether it be a pack of wolves or a Knights of Columbus breakfast the tendency for some to get more or most is pretty common. Doesn’t make it right or very democratic I agree but also doesn’t make it a Highlands exclusive either. I am in my 18th or 19th year of living in Highlands and business as usual and kvetching about it have been a constant all those years. More than a few dumb and dumber events have taken place during that time and it is easy to sit with anyone who has been here longer and get more than 10 fingers worth of actions by the powers that were to fill a 50 gallong bucket of goop with specific examples of what were they thinking outcomes.. With all this as background I still haven’t found supporting evidence to call in the county, state or federal authorities to take control of the operations of our town. That leaves citizen action, or as Barney Fife would say, citizen arrest, citizen arrest. If your concerns are that you and yours get equal access to the “freebies” than take turns going to the “distribution center” and watch the comings and goings, if your concerns are how much is costs and what kind of life style you will have for your buck than go to the meetings and ask the questions, go to the offices where the management and administration of the policies and non policies that control the cost and the quality are carried out. This is Highlands not Freehold and a cheat sheet of who is on first and where they are hibernating is not that large. If your interest is to find people,places asnd things other than yourself to hang with the blame and annoit as the all powerful Oz than stay on the web and take your best shots. Highlands like anywhere else is probably no better or worse than anywhere else where the people don’t keep at it and continually look for ways to keep the lights on across the board to see who got the bed and who got the mattress and are they legally registered in the same household.


    • That is absolute BS and I know because I was one of the people who volunteered MY time to give stuff out. The purpose of that place was to GIVE stuff that people needed to THEM. If you showed up and did not know what you needed than who’s fault is it that you couldn’t use a distribution center as your personal supermarket?

      You think that the people who took advantage, showed up every single day, should have been allowed to take anything they wanted leaving nothing that people really needed like contractor bags, mold remover spray, spray bottles, shovels, brooms, mops? What about all those people who came in on the bus who never lived in town? Should they have been allowed to roam free? Or maybe the contractors who billed the homeowner for supplies that they never had to buy? Then of course there was the group that wanted the “good stuff” so they could resell it. I know it’s a shame that we had the audacity to look out for the people in town who really did need that stuff… but then you would be complaining about how you got nothing at all.

      Of course let’s talk about how “on the ball” the Red Cross was. All those people who showed up from there to ask what was needed neglected to hand their lists in so it wasn’t until late in the year that those items showed up. Call it poor communication, call it whatever you want, but until those trucks showed up and dumped the stuff in the firehouse how was anyone going to know what was in the boxes? After they put those things into “kits” they drove around and delivered to people in town. Surely you saw them driving around and asking if you needed anything? And if you didn’t, you could have always filled out a residents need form and put on there that you needed pots and pans, bath mats, toilet brush, etc. You can blame the red cross because you missed out on that 2.99 toilet brush but don’t blame the volunteers.

      And maybe, just maybe, those “boxes” you saw being taken out were some of the 10,000 tubes of toothpaste or 50,000 bars of soap or shampoos and moisturizers.


    • I don’t know if answering your first point about showing up at a place to get help and being expected to have your own written in stone shopping list would actually mean anything if that is your belief. From personal experience I know that is easier for me to get what I need when I am allowed to walk among the possible and made to feel comfortable. Seems to me that if this process is a fact in the for profit world it would be a no brainer, slam dunk attitude to establish and encourage in the not for profit, solution centered distribution world. One big, really big, attitude that has been noticed and has grown into a major divisive issue during the post Sandy era is who the hell do most of the people, involved in gathering and administrating the help, think they are. It might be more beneficial for those who jumped in to help to take a moment or two and do a bit of soul and organizational searching. Not from a self defensive place but from a how can I do this better and more democratically going forward. This isn’t a war where the startegy and tactics need to be set and provide the most cover and security, this is a helping task enabled by the kindness and concern of others, the donors, it does not exist to make the job of the volunteers easier or more disposed to relieve the work load of the volunteers.


    • You might go to the supermarket and prefer to “look around” but you would be paying for those items.

      It is just a shame that rather than people appreciating that they got things for free that they want to complain because someone else got more than they did. Shades of entitlement…. and a reason why giving anything out for free is a bad idea.

      I have no idea who decided they had the qualifications and experience to “run” the charities or even why they re purposed an existing charity but by doing so that allowed the same people who ran it before Sandy to still run it.


    • “Shades of entitlement…. and a reason why giving anything out for free is a bad idea.” Are you kidding me? Written by the person whose house didn’t flood but yet still thought she was entitled to the $1000 HFH money because she lived in the same zip code.. So what shade of grey is your entitlement?


    • Ok then explain to me who got the mattresses? I personally didn’t need one, but I knew people that DID and PUT in for them on their NEEDS form and never got them or even knew they came in. When they found out from other residents NOT the town, some were lied to and told there weren’t any, some were told they didn’t qualify because they weren’t living back in their house yet. (And before you say the town can’t store them, they were willing to keep them at their rental property until they moved back home).

      Who got the appliances that were donated? How was it decided?

      What exactly was donated? Do you actually know?

      1000+ households lost everything on 1st floor minimum. 1000 +, that means they are all in the need for almost everything. So instead of telling the town, ‘hey we got 200 mattresses, and we’re going through the list now of 500 mattresses requests.’ It sets the expectation, plus let them where on the list they are and why.

      And just so you are educated on Flood vs Home owners insurance, Flood insurance isn’t there to make you whole, meaning it doesn’t cover everything, and yet if you have a mortgage you are required to purchase it. So people are looking at HUGE gaps on what they get from Flood insurance and the actual costs of putting their homes structurally back together and purchasing all the stuff they *used* to own. Homeowners, if a tree falls on your house or your house burns down and you’re insured to $250,000, if the damages up to or less than $250,000 you get a check for the exact amount up to $250,000. Flood insurance doesn’t work the same way.

      My point being, you have 1000+ people that need stuff, knowing what the process is for getting the donations and how the determinations are decided on who gets what isn’t too much to ask for.


    • No, I have NO clue who handled the mattress or “large items”. The only other thing I did was provide a list of all addresses in town obtained from the monmouth county web site so that when people came in to ask FOR those items we could reference the list and identify where the items needed to go. You’d need to ask the hope for highlands or help highlands NJ how they determined the order.


  4. I was told not to go past doorway.They would have to check my needs list at the resource center.NEVER got back to me!


    • yeah, they told me it was hazardous and didn’t have liability insurance to cover me. And I’m pretty confident I can walk between boxes without falling over, the fact that I wasn’t even trying to look around it brought up a red flag that there was something in there they didn’t want me to see.


    • The bottom line is the people who got first dibs in town are the people have the power and influence and that is undeniable and unfair and has nothing to do with volunteering to help. A volunteer is not going to to tell somebody influential in town I need your list. Honestly there is so much I need to replace It would be helpful to look around cause I can’t possibly list on a small piece of paper all of my needs. As long as you have an address that has an ICC letter on it you should be able to go in and look around and take what you need. That is what the donor’s intended. The whole thing is being handled like it’s a favor from town instead of an act of kindness from strangers. Let me just say as I threw all my belongings in the gutter I never even saw Red Cross but just strangers from other towns who took it upon themselves to help. Those where the hero’s in my opinion. Don’t talk or treat us like we are freeloaders its insulting and disgusting and that attitude is exactly whats wrong with this whole process.


    • Agreed. I did see Red Cross but what they were limited to giving away was cleaning stuff (The kid that stopped even went and found me a commercial grade dust pan because I kept breaking the small plastic dustpans I was using to pick up drywall), and food. Which were both appreciated but I needed free labor and some one there that motivated me past the shell shock to get things done. To the strangers that showed up, walked in my house and demo’d : THANK YOU

      This isn’t about feeling entitled, its about trying to get through a traumatic event with your sanity and ego intact and making sure that you pull our fellow friends, neighbors, towns people through too.

      Seriously, how many people here have considered giving up and just letting the bank deal with it. Raise your mouse. If you don’t think that weighs on a person when they aren’t “that type of person that takes their financial responsibility lightly” and you have days where the only options seems to be to walk away because you don’t know how to put everything back together unless you do except help from random strangers, it wears on your psyche. When you go from the one giving help to the one needing help its a huge blow to your ego.

      Then you have people like @stacy who claim we all have entitlement envy and is basically clueless on how bad things are for people that live in the same town as her. Our only option is to ignore her and lean on each other to pull ourselves through this.


  5. Stacy I understand your comments more after you stated”….giving anything away for free is a bad idea….” It is possible that this job was just not right for you. The whole concept was to get help to those who needed it. If people had to pay they would have gone to the store as many, very many people did after experiencing the process of getting or not getting donated assistance. It is laudable that it appears that you and others acted as you thought best to protect and serve rather than adopt the charitable mantel of the donations and do your best to simply serve. The discontent is more wide spread than the voices on this blog. At the core I am sure there are few people in and out of town who don’t appreciate the efforts of the volunteers the issue has deteriorated into a who knew what when and did what when. The same issue that infects every area of public intercourse today, the key to it all, open and available information was missing and due to past and everyday experience, anyone volunteer, elected or paid official should understand this by now and fix it, going around saying my bad or I know nothing are red flags to those who have lived with these kinds of excuses for way too long. Stuff came in, actual stuff was available to help but the information, timing and distribution of these items was handled like the help center was a branch of Costco, not a source for practical items and shoulders to lean on for all, rather than a place with the best darn security process and work flow process in the area.


    • I didn’t even know there was a distribution center. I guess this was advertised on the blinky sign in front of boro hall?

      There are always going to be people out there that feel like they are entitled to things, and who will take more than their fair share just because it’s FREE and they think they deserve it. I have a neighbor who still has a hoard of bleach that I can see in the front porch, and he would stop by daily when I was ripping out my whole first floor to tell me what new loot he had snagged and how much of it. Frankly, I was too absorbed in my own problems to give much of a shit then.

      I’m thankful for the fact that I got a bunch of free sheetrock. I used every bit of it (and still need more. Lord, there’s a ton of sheetrock in a house.) I cried when the volunteers drove around with coffee and sandwiches. It still makes me tear up that people gave up their time to come to our little town. When people asked how they could help, I directed them to the Help For Highlands, because I thought giving locally was the answer.

      What makes me mad is that I stepped back and didn’t grab for things because I know there are a lot of people in this town that needed them a lot more than I did. And still do, for that matter.

      Life ain’t fair. I know that. And if I didn’t, this past year has made it abundantly clear.

      I’ll be involved to make sure it is as fair as I can help it be. Not sure how (or when) quite yet, but I will be. Because things just ain’t right these days.


    • I hear you Jen, I was out of work for 7 weeks helping the contractor dudes rebuild our place. I love those coffee ladies to pieces. And when the Red Cross stopped by with the cleaning supplies kit, I told them to give it to someone else who needed is more. The lady walked over to my house and looked in the window then told me [and I’ll never forget this] “Sugar – you have no floor and no walls so take the damn kit”


  6. As far as this whole issue goes, lets get some things straight right now. First, everyone appreciates anything that anyone who volunteers does. However, this does not make such people immune from being criticized when they do someting that is not up and up or is clearly discriminatory.

    This has been a problem in this town for quite a while. If you want to talk about entitlements, then lets talk about how certain organiztions such as the HFD feel that since they are volunteers they are entitled to be above the rules that everyone in town has to follow and do whatever they want. If anyone dares to ask questions, they get the usual shout down. If what you are doing is legit. there are no need for such tactics.

    As far as the distribution center goes and the anger expressed by those so called vounteers there here are some facts.

    FACT: Many people going down there are told they cannot look around to see what it is they might be able to use. However others (including known local drug dealers) a select few are allowed to wander around and take what they want whenever they want. FACT: May items at the distribution center are kept out of view of the general public hidden behind boxes in the back. FACT: There is no sign or notice anywhere telling the public what is available. FACT: Unless you “know someone” or find out in another way, certain items can only be obtained if you ask for that specific item. Myself and others have witnesses these things with our very own eyes!!! Anyone that tries to deny this, defend this, or say it isnt true, is full of BS!!!!!

    The items were donated to all the people of the town, and im sure not meant for a select few, friends, family, etc etc etc. of the people operating the distribution center. Which of course questions the validity and reasons for their so called volunteerism.

    So to those that express “outrage” over anyone daring to point out and challenge these practices, I pose these questions.

    Who are you to solely determine who gets what and why? I was told a person asking for a box of wipes was told they couldnt have it because they didnt have a baby. Really?

    Why are some people allowed to roam freely around the place whille others are held at bay a the entrance? I was personally told by someone working for the town that “if they know and like you at the distribution center you can look around all you want and take all you want”.

    Why are certain items being purposefully kept out of public view? Who tells anyone, and how what is available? How does anyone know what they may be able to use, if they cant see what is there? And why cant they? Why are cerain things being hidden and by whose authority.

    You see, its not about feeling entitled, or abusing the so called volunteers, its about fairness and equal treatment. The people at the distrubution center may see it as their own personal Home Depot, to be distrubuted to whoever they like or deem worthy, but it is not! It is not about people being ungrateful, it is about what is fair and unfair. Truly how can one be ungrateful if they dont have equal access to certain things in the first place?

    If the practices mentioned here, were not happening there would not be an issue. And that is the issue, so lets not try to obscure it with feiged outrage or BS attempts to defend it.


    • You all keep saying “select few” and I don’t have a “select few”. I knew some of the people who came down and I gave them no more or no less than what they asked for. You want to cast aspersions that only some people got items and I’m telling you for a fact I did not “play favorites”.

      What exactly do you mean about equal access? I have no clue who else was down there, I can only respond to the time I spent and other than telling people that items that were in the back (BECAUSE THERE WAS NOWHERE ELSE TO STORE THEM) were not a part of the distribution center, nobody was denied a thing.

      It’s quite interesting that when I said earlier that everyone in the town of Highlands who had damage to their homes should be entitled to the same funds, the response was it should only go to those downtown. Why is that, exactly? Was the money donated by people different than the people who packed up soap and toothpaste?

      This is exactly why they were told they need a caseworker when the Robin Hood money comes in, because they don’t give a rats @ss where in Highlands you live, who you know, or how long you’ve lived here.

      And under lessons learned, the best advice to the next town that is sent the leftover soap and toothpaste, put it outside, walk away and don’t look back.


    • I suppose that we all must go through the he said, she said, process of giving away donated items to people in need. Why this seems to be necessary is beyond reason however. While again defending volunteers who would need no defending,Stacy you declare the answers to the very points that people have brought up about the effort. Stuff unavailable, put in the back because no where else to put it out, people shown what they asked for, etc. The main point to be answered by everyone, volunteers, elected officials, town employees is how did this absurd process come about? It seems to have been an outgrowth of no master plan, town emergency management scheme but rather the not so well thought out system that arose in a vacuum from some folks personal view of the world. The abdication of responsibility or the lack of leadership by elected officials and town managers is ultimately at fault. The whole show has taken place on town property using town resources. Stacy just under that fact alone you, me or the next gal, have the same right to access and to just look around.


  7. For what it’s worth, there’s no notice of this whatsoever on the Highlands Solution Center facebook page.

    Way to get the word out to more people there, guys!


  8. I noticed that Stacy answered none of my questions I posed. Such as Why are certain items hidden in the back of the old firehouse out of view of the general public? Why is it necessary to ask for certain items, and somehow pyschically know that they are available?

    Sorry Stacy, but I have seen the things I have posted about with my own eyes as have many others and this is why it has become an issue. Why for instance, do most people have to be stopped at the entrance to the distribution center but I saw with my own eyes, one of the biggest drug dealers in town roaming around in there freely!!!!

    Also, I was told by someone working at the solution center that only people that distribution center volunteers “know and like get to walk around freely and take what they want”. This is an exact quote.

    So, people arent imagnining what is going on down there. Its just more of who you know, good old boy system alive and well in Highlands.

    No one needs “gate keepers” telling them what they do and do not need or can use, which has also happened. Sure, its a good idea to keep people from hauling off everything, but I have seen the people down there jealously guarding almost everything. Why? The items are donated, and they are for everyone in the town. They are not yours, to distribute how you see fit to whomever you deem worthy.

    This all is the truth of it, so Im sorry if this upsets some, but there it is. I think the people that should be the most upset are the ones that have never been informed about what is down there, and never had access to it. Which is another question Stacy didnt bother to answer………. Who tells the general public what is available down there?

    So, far it seems to have been all by mouth, if you are lucky to know someone who knows what is going on.


  9. Not surprising no word from Stacy as she felt a case of serious entitlement cause some trees fell in her YARD while the most of us had to dispose of everything we own and didn’t have a home to go to. Not trying to pick on Stacy but her comments are so out of line regarding this issue….here was her post which HB eluded to in his answer. Yet we can’t question what the hell is going on regarding donations that were meant to help the people most hurt.

    January 29, 2013 at 7:15 pm #
    0 1 Rate This
    I asked them if the only people entitled to ask for money are people in the flood zone or is the money for ANYONE in town who had damage. If someone spent 5K having trees that fell in their yard from the storm why shouldn’t they be entitled to some reimbursement?
    Let’s hope they get that charity “mission statement” sorted soon so everyone will know who is entitled. Do we even know if a tenant is entitled to reimbursement too? What if they lost everything but have no home in Highlands anymore?


  10. If so I sure hope after reading this Chris Francy becomes a conduit for change on behalf of all of us. We cannot continue to go with things as they have been as this has been a life changing experience that most will never forget!


  11. So i just looked on Municipal sight and here’s what’s left I guess the wizard took the stuff people saw behind the curtain. I personally have no need for things listed which i’m assuming that’s all that’s left for us in limited supplies with volunteer supervision. I’m so over the games that are being played with people’s lives its simply disgraceful!!!! All I can say is what goes around comes around for people who abused the kindness of strangers for self serving purposes when so many who truly need help were excluded. There is a special place in Hell for them.
    Distribution Center
    Boro Hall Distribution Center open Sunday March 24th 10am- 2pm…limited supplies of adults clothing, blankets and cleaning supplies!! Please bring ID and volunteers can assist you!!


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