After Superstorm Sandy destroyed their Far Rockaway apartment, Alan and Shaquana Watson feared that they would be forced to leave the neighborhood where they had spent their whole lives. Today, with the help of the American Red Cross, the Watsons have moved into a brand new apartment in their old neighborhood.
The night of the storm, “The rain kept coming and coming,” said Shaquana, who was four months pregnant. “Then the waves were getting closer and closer.”
The Watsons and their two children, Amani, 7, and Amira, 4, took refuge in Shaquana’s mother’s house, which was nearby, but on higher ground.
“We left the laundry folded on top of the bed,”Shaquana said. “We said we’d come back the next day and put it away.”
When the storm passed the family went home to survey the damage.
“The water was up to four to five feet inside our house,” Alan said. “Everything was in disarray, tossed around. And you could see the water line around the whole house.”
A police captain suggested they call the Red Cross for help. Working with a Red Cross caseworker, the Watsons learned they qualified for help through the Sandy Move-in Assistance Program.
Alan, Shaquana, and their three children (baby Adam was born May 1st) moved into a new apartment in Far Rockaway this June.
“I cried and cried,” said Shaquana. “I was so happy.”
“Everything you see—the kids’ bedroom set, the crib, the couch, the dining room table—we have because of the Red Cross,” Alan said.
The program also paid the family’s first month’s rent and security deposit.
“Without Red Cross assistance it would have been a struggle,” Alan said.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/gny or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.