For fans of MTV's "Jersey Shore," the Shore Store is part of the lore of Snooki, the Situation, Vinny and the rest of the gang. But when superstorm Sandy tore through Seaside Heights two weeks ago, it destroyed just about everything in its path, including the store where the "Shore" gang earned their keep.
MTV News took a trip back to the shore with store owner Danny Merk recently and he couldn't believe what he saw. "Where's the boardwalk?" he asked as he walked down the iconic wooden slats now covered with sand, splintered beams and heavy construction equipment. Peering into the ruined innards of his store and then out through the hole where the roof used to be, Merk was in disbelief at the devastation and the moldy, soaked remains of his merchandise.
On Thursday (November 15) night, Merk banded with the "Shore" crew and dozens of musicians and actors who've taped pleas for assistance for those impacted by the storm as part of MTV's "Restore the Shore" benefit show.
"Restore the Shore" aired live on MTV and featured [article id="1697310"]appearances by the cast of "Jersey Shore"[/article] from MTV's Times Square studio, as well as videotaped pleas for help by other celebs — [article id="1697243"]including Taylor Swift[/article] — all of whom will be asking viewers to contribute to the rebuilding and restoration of Seaside Heights.
Text SHORE to 85944 to make a $10 donation now. Funds will focus on meeting residents of Seaside's immediate emergency needs, such as shelter, food and health services. The Red Cross is also helping feed emergency workers, handling inquiries from concerned family members outside the disaster area, and providing blood and blood products to victims.
"Every piece of merchandise I had is ruined, wet," said Merk as he walked through the store and was surprised by a visit from his favorite former tenants. "It is a disaster, I really wasn't expecting it to be this bad," said DJ Pauly D about the piles of soggy shirts and shorts and fallen beams. "It literally is a war zone. This is damaged throughout the whole entire place, like a tidal wave just came in swooped it, knocked it around a little bit, put sand all over the floor ... there's actually benches from the boardwalk inside this place. Everything's destroyed."
At this point, Merk isn't sure if the whole building needs to be knocked down and if he has to start over or if he can rebuild from what's left.
"I believe that if everybody does help and pitch in, we could bring this place back," Pauly said. "And having it poppin' again for next summer."
Unlike a conventional telethon where viewers call in and hope to speak with a celebrity, MTV's "Restore the Shore" featured stars personally calling individuals who donate via Indiegogo at "Restore the Shore" or make a $10 donation by texting SHORE to 85944. All funds raised will go to Architecture for Humanity, an internationally recognized non-profit that led rebuilding efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. They are now setting out to help rebuild the famed boardwalk, local businesses and homes in Seaside Heights ravaged by the storm.
You can still help "Restore the Shore" by texting SHORE to 85944 to make a $10 donation.