Two former New York Knicks players, John Wallace and John Starks – along with team dancers and staffers – spent Tuesday loading thousands of disaster relief supplies at the Red Cross distribution warehouse, joining the efforts of 11,000 workers in the Sandy relief effort.
Among other tasks, Wallace and Starks packed a fleet of eight Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) with coats, hats, diapers, cleaning supplies and comfort kits from the Red Cross’ command center for all distributions within the New York relief operation. Quicker than an NBA fast break, the trucks were stocked and set for the road. As a sendoff, the Knicks dancers performed an impromptu spirit routine complete with a “Red Cross!” cheer.
But the compassion didn’t stop there. Not only did they contribute added enthusiasm and energy to the warehouse, but all members of the group then caravanned along with the ERVs to the Rockaways, one of the hardest hit areas in New York. As box after box of goods were unpacked, sorted, and personally handed out to residents in line to replenish their supplies, the players added an unexpected surprise and a little joy to families who had lost their homes and much of their lives to Superstorm Sandy.
National disaster or local calamity, the American Red Cross could not accomplish anything without its volunteers. On the 23rd day of the recovery, a warm smile and greeting from two of the area’s most recognizable basketball players boosted the spirits of a community getting used to a new normal following a devastating disaster.