As I was stuck in my apartment during Hurricane Sandy, like everyone else here in New York and New Jersey, I watched the coverage on NY1 news. Being alone, I was a little scared of what would happen, but luckily here in Park Slope, I only had a flicker of lights, wind and rain. So I was thinking, wow this might not be that bad. But in the morning when I woke up, I looked up at the TV to see nothing but destruction and people’s lives destroyed.
At first, I felt bad like everyone else, calling friends etc. to see how they were, and feeling lucky that we fared the storm without a scratch. Then a few days later, after it was over, a lady from Staten Island was allowed to tell her story and vent on camera.
When I heard her beg and plead for the people of New York to PLEASE HELP, and WHERE ARE THEY? Its been four days with NO electric, NO heat, NO food, NO water. WHERE IS EVERYONE? It struck a nerve in me, and made me cry. I thought “How CAN I help? ” I like so many people here in New York, I have a limited amount of money to donate, so I wanted to find a way to donate my TIME and Volunteer wherever I was needed.
And boy, am I happy I did!!
I ran a web search and came across this great website http://www.recovers.org Within the site I found different communities to help with lists of meeting places and organizations that had work for volunteers.
I looked up the Staten Island link and decided that was the community I would like to help FIRST. My reason being, that Staten Island was one of my best friends hometown (Alan Darcy) and he now lives in Florida, so I wanted to represent him and support his family that lives there (luckily they were not harmed).
I would like to share some photos and tell some of the heroic stories that these amazing people felt comfortable enough to share with me, just because I was willing to show up and listen.
I hope when you attach their faces to their stories, it will inspire you to want to get out there and donate a little of your time to help those less fortunate than you. If the shoe was on the other foot you would be looking for a person, just like you, to show up and help.
On Monday I was able to connect with The City Council through http://www.recovers.org to sign up to go with them to Staten Island to volunteer.
The volunteers met for the first time downtown, with the city council group that arranged a “New York City Sightseeing” bus to take us to Staten Island to Volunteer. We thought that was pretty crazy and awesome at the same time.
This lovely lady that usually works on this bus as a tour guide volunteered her time to go with us and even tell us some facts along the way of our amazing city. Thanks New York City Sightseeing for donating the bus!! http://www.newyorksightseeing.com
I was so happy to meet such wonderful people with the same goal in mind,
to get there and do whatever we could to ease the pain and work load for the people of Staten Island.
On our way to Staten Island we were probably all wondering what we would see and encounter, but we were all ready to work and give our time!
George and Shirley both said to me that they were “thankful for good people like us, and that this was a good thing we kids were doing and that we would be rewarded in this life.” They also said that this kind of situation shows the true colors of people. George said, “the people you think will show up don’t, and the people you least expect show up when you are in need.” Shirley,
George and I exchanged information, so we could stay in touch and they both invited me this summer, to bring my boyfriend to their farm in Pennsylvania.At this rate my summer dance card was going to fill up. 😉
From Left to right. Casey , Me(Robin), Shirley, Paul, and the Unsinkable George!
Once we left George and Shirley we wandered down the road to help a nice couple outside, Dario and Maria, they were working on getting Darios mothers backyard back to normal. There was green astro turf, tarps and broken tile embedded in the dirt, so we all dug in to get it done. The only thing that was not broken was this ceramic chicken. It’s crazy it was in one piece.
We walked on down the road to see who else we could help out, when we came across more of our volunteer friends who were all jumping in to help this family of four who lived across the street from the shore line. They were a young couple with 2 young children, that lost everything in their basement and media room. You have never seen so many soaked through piles of papers, shoes, clothing and toys. It was so saturated that we had to use shovels to scrape up the debris and throw them into trash bags. Luckily Paul suggested to use the dolly to haul the bags to the curb, which was up a steep hill.
The amazing thing about Asiatu, is she actually called me a few days later, to thank me for all we did for them!! Can you imagine, during all of the chaos she is encountering she felt the need to thank the volunteers! Extraordinary kindness!! I plan to check up on her soon, to see how things are going.
Just to give you a sense of the conditions of Staten Island, here are some photos I took with my phone of all the Destruction and surreal surroundings.
Although there are many wonderful, giving people, there is always a dark side to disasters, like looters and thieves. The people posted many homemade signs letting us know what was happening in their neighborhoods,that has caused fear and insecurity within the area. Even going as far as threatening trespassers!
God bless you Jimmy, I am sure you have a secure place in heaven. It reads RIP Jimmy, We Love you!
It’s Amazing to me, that most of the people who live here, even after all the crazy events that have descended on this community. They still find a way to fly their American flags showing their love for this country! It’s very touching.
I hope you will dig deep and find your American spirit, from these stories and photos, to help you decide to get out there and volunteer your time for our neighbors who desperately need our help. Its wont cost you a thing, just a little of your time, open heart, and ears to listen to the people who make this city so great! Lets show them we are here to help them during this scary time and help them rebuild their lives!!
They really are appreciative! 🙂
This was one of the best experiences I have ever had, it has changed my life, and made me realize how lucky I really am!! I will be going back soon and I will keep you in the loop. But once you have gone and have a story to tell, feel free to post it up on my Facebook Page. Robins Relief Effort!! Lets share and spread the word!
You will have muddy boots and a smile on your face!! I LOVE NY!!