ASBURY PARK - Sandy recovery efforts took a big leap forward Thursday night thanks to a local donation.

Money raised by the Asbury Park Press was presented during the first night of the Garden State Film Festival. The funds were drawn from a book highlighting the paper's coverage of the devastating storm, and were handed out at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park.

The book, titled "Sandy: The Jersey Shore in the Eye of the Storm," was first published in December to raise money for the Red Cross and the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau.

As for the festival, more than 160 films will be shown at six different venues until April 7.