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West End mothers collect for stricken residents of New Jersey hometown

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va (WTVR)- There's a one square mile town on New Jersey's coast that holds a special place in the heart of West End mom Michelle Madaras.

That heart has been breaking this week for loved ones whose lives were flipped upside down and buried in sand Monday night.

If a picture's worth a thousand words then Madaras wonders why the photos she's seen make her speechless.

"It's devastating, heartbreaking, difficult to comprehend," she said Friday.

Madaras grew up in the tiny town of Manasquan, New Jersey, and the place she called home for so many years, in just a few hours Monday night into Tuesday morning, has been forever changed.

"The boardwalk is gone, people’s homes are gone,”  Madaras said.  “We were sitting around talking about what we could do yesterday."

So Madaras and her friend Anna Gibellato wasted no time brainstorming.  "She said ‘let’s do something’ and I said, ‘I'm onboard,’" said Gibellato.

The two plan on loading a U-Haul with  essentials, including toilet paper, flash lights, batteries, non-perishable food, diapers, baby wipes, gloves, and blankets.

"Water,” Gibellato added.  “Anything to keep them going."

The two will collect the items this weekend at the Wyndham Swim and Racquet Club located at 6401 Old Wyndham Drive, Glen Allen, Virginia. Late Sunday they will drive donations north to those in need in New Jersey.

All they're asking from you, is to drop by and drop off something for a community of strangers, paying it forward to a town that basically has nothing left.

"It's one of the most devastated towns on the coast," said Madaras.

And if you’d like to help, the two West End moms will be out at the Wyndham Swim and Racquet Club Saturday and Sunday between 9 and 5.