|There is no question that Hurricane Sandy victims need support.|
Volunteers have been helping them dig out from the historic storm for weeks, fundraisers are helping to provide them the means to rebuild and food drives are making sure they stay fed.
But one local business did what it could to help return something else to some area storm victims: a sense of normalcy.
East Coast Glo, an airbrush tanning salon on Route 71, spent Sunday giving free spray tans to dozens of Hurricane Sandy victims. And when so many people signed up to take advantage of the opportunity, the salon extended its hours multiple times to accommodate that demand instead of turning people away.
“Everyone has something to give, and this was something that I was able to do,” said Melissa Kinsman, 31, who has owned and operated East Coast Glo for seven years.
“With the recovery underway, people are feeling down. Especially women, who might be stuck in the same outfits day after day, cleaning and taking care of the kids,” Kinsman said. “If something as silly as a spray tan could make them feel a little better, then this was a no brainer.”
Manasquan resident Renee Dzenis was wading through water at her mother’s decimated Point Pleasant home in the days following Hurricane Sandy, trying to recover what she could from her childhood home, when she fell and injured her ankle.
At first, the schoolteacher thought the pain she was experiencing was simply from a broken ankle. But doctors later discovered that a deep puncture wound she received on her ankle in the fall was badly infected, causing the pain, as well as significant swelling, decreased red blood cells, and liver failure.
After three stints in the hospital, Dzenis still needs the assistance of crutches to get around. She has only been outside a few times in the last month, and has only recently been able to drive a car again, even though it is still a struggle.
So when Dzenis’ husband, Chip, heard of East Coast Glo’s offer, he encouraged his reluctant wife to go.
“I usually go spray tanning when I have to go to a function or a party, or in the summer because I don’t like laying out in the sun. So I didn’t think it was necessary to look tan when the only place I can go is the living room,” Dzenis said.
But after getting the free spray tan, Dzenis said it did make a difference.
“Just being out here, doing something like this, makes me feel like I’m starting to get my life back,” she said. “I know I’m not going out to a party or anything, but now I’ll feel better when I look in the mirror.”
Kinsman, who also volunteered making deliveries and sorting donations for the Red Bank-based non-profit organization RebuildRecover while the power to her business was out following the storm, said the day was about more than just free spray tans.
“My customers have supported me through all of these years, so I’m going to support them now,” Kinsman said. “This is not a favor, because they’re the ones who have done the favor for me. It is just a thank you.”