As I teenager, I spent many days on the beaches of southern Long Island – my grandparents lived less than a block from the water in Atlantic Beach. And I have a lot of family and friends in the New York City area, on Long Island, and in New Jersey. The homes and communities badly damaged or even worse in the wake of Hurricane Sandy two weeks ago struck a nerve.
Last week at our offices, we collected nearly 100 large garbage bags full of clothing, toiletries, food and other supplies for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The outpouring of help from around our City of Falls Church was incredible – people I have never met came by with car loads of supplies that they had gathered from their friends and colleagues. Dental offices gave me toothpaste and toothbrushes. A yoga studio gathered many bags from its members. I cannot begin to thank all of the individual and businesses who chipped in to help.
On Friday evening, we loaded up a rented U Haul truck and on Saturday my family and I drove it to East Rockaway on Long Island. We found widespread power outages, trees and limbs down, and a lot of water damage. We were shown how the streets right by the water had at least 6 feet of salt water in them during the storm. Boats and docks were thrashed around and placed in new spots. Mud and sand filled streets and parking lots.
We delivered the supplies to Bethany Congregational Church in East Rockaway. The staff and volunteers, including EMS from out of state, FEMA staff, local high school students and more, were uplifting and eager to help us unload. People from all walks of life and from near and far came together to help collect and sort the supplies. The Church had collected a huge amount of supplies (see photos below), and clearly the community was in need of them. The full extent of the damage was difficult to see from the street since the water inside of homes and apartments and businesses had come and gone – but destroyed so much in its wake.
Below I have posted some photos from our trip, and some videos that show a small portion of the damage in the area we visited.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED US HELP THE VICTIMS OF SANDY!