“It’s a very big boost while we’re waiting for everyone else who are supposed to pay to actually pay,” said Christine Carunchio, whose Union Beach house took on 3 feet of water during Sandy.
Since early last month, Cantor Fitzgerald’s charity arm, the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, and the financial brokerage firm BGC Partners have been handing out the debit cards at elementary schools in communities pummeled by Sandy.
The Hazlet school marked the first New Jersey stop in Cantor Fitzgerald’s charity effort, which also distributed cards yesterday at three schools in Keansburg: Port Monmouth Road School, Joseph C. Caruso School and Joseph R. Bolger Middle School.
Roughly 1,000 families in the two towns will receive $1,000 each. In all, Cantor Fitzgerald plans to hand out $10 million in cards at 19 elementary schools in New York and New Jersey. No other New Jersey stops are planned.
Cantor Fitzgerald chose the schools because they were in areas that were among the hardest hit by Sandy and were in regions where company employees live.
Anyone who couldn’t pick up the cards yesterday can make arrangements to receive them in the future.
“I’ve heard people say, “I’m going to go out right now and buy a bunk bed, since my kids haven’t had a bed,’ ” said Howard Lutnick, Cantor Fitzgerald CEO and chairman. “It’s just very warm and endearing.”
Yesterday, about 480 families had shown their IDs at Holy Family School and picked up their cards. The families can spend the money anywhere, any time.
“They can use the money in any way they see fit, and they can get the money without any red tape,” said New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who visited yesterday morning’s event.
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