The Heart of Hopewell: Reflecting on Sandy

The Heart of Hopewell: Reflecting on Sandy

We are excited to share our latest blog post contributed by Marla Hanan, a Hopewell resident and mother of three boys who is one the ultimate supporters of local networks of people working together for the greater good.  Welcome Marla and we hope you enjoy this one…

Reflecting on the last week after Hurricane Sandy.  I am in awe of my community in Hopewell, New Jersey.  While outside it was cold, windy and rainy, I like to remember the warmth of cooking, of generosity and of the company of friends and family. For that brief time, when there was nowhere to go, we had the luxury of just being together.

Friends opened their kitchens to me, and so I could keep cooking – something that is as natural and as necessary to me as breathing.  During that week the act of cooking was particularly therapeutic amidst the uncertainty and a home that was dark and cold.

First we made pizzas in the fireplace at my house – with Lori helping Jacob—what fun we had, in the early days of the storm, when it seemed an adventure.

One night I cooked in G.G’s kitchen – we cooked to keep her house warm, and what a meal we created – a delicious vegetable soup, crispy dosas,  butternut squash, curry cauliflower and potatoes.  We pronounced the meal Thanksgiving and thankful we were.

I stood in Lori’s kitchen, cooking there because I could not cook in my own home, and cooking to feed me and she and her husband.  I cooked and felt I was earning my keep.   The frittata made with Nettles I found – all huddled, wilted and frozen, rescued from my freezer during the storm. Now these dear, strong herbs were feeding us.  How lucky we were.

On day seven without power, I was grateful to learn that members of the Hopewell community had organized a generator swap and installation!  They came to my rescue – the family whom I have never met but lent me their generator when they were no longer in need of its help.  The kind man who came not just once – but twice, to bring heat to my house via this generator. Heidi – the connector of this swapping system –showed up to help with installing the generator, and then checked in on me and came when it was time to return the machine. Heidi turned to me as she was about to leave and told me that this town, Hopewell, is filled with people who are happy to help each other.  “This is why I am never leaving this town”, she said.

It is all of the seemingly small acts that are big and that matter.

Finally, on day eight without power, when hope was waning, I hooked up the two-burner electric cook top and decided I was going to make a chili in my darkish house for my family. Maybe, as I chop the onions and sauté the garlic, taking these steps toward hope will lead to our electrical power coming back.   Sure enough, half way into the chili simmering on the cook top the lights came on.

Oh what joy and relief.  And now, I hope to keep my doors (and kitchen) open for sharing with my community.


Do you have any reflections on Sandy you would like to share? Just post a comment…

You can keep up with Hopewell Township Sandy updates here.

If you have services you are in need of post Sandy, you can post a free Ad under Gigs on

If you are looking for local services, you might want to check out our past blog post on hurricane Irene which provides a list of local businesses that can help you cut those trees, clean up that house or follow up on some repairs.

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