Painting, taping, sanding, and installing flooring: Nearly 75 American Red Cross volunteers teamed up on Saturday, March 29, helping to repair Sandy-damaged homes in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island as part of a Red Cross Month Sandy Rebuild effort.
The volunteers worked with six Red Cross grantee partners including, Friends of Rockaway (Queens); The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation (Staten Island); Rebuilding Together NYC (Brooklyn); New York Cares (Queens); Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (Long Island) and UMCOR(Long Island).
Vincent DiPalma, a widower in Massapequa, who has been struggling for almost a year and a half to make his home livable, looked at the installation of the laminate floor in his den on Saturday and described the volunteers’ work in partnership with the United Methodists as "a miracle."
The volunteers were also excited by the work they carried out that day.
"I've been a Brooklyn resident all of my life,” said Red Cross volunteer Ariel Lagares. “To be able to help someone here who has lost everything is a privilege."
Volunteer Saleem Sayed, works for PANYNJ as a civil engineer. He says that his job, like volunteering, is a public service. “I want to help others to build a better life," he said.
Nariko Wright echoed the sentiment. "At the time of Sandy I wasn't able to help out,” she said. “Now is my opportunity to be hands-on wherever I am needed."
Each of the Red Cross partner organizations participating in the rebuild day has previously received Sandy grant funding from the Red Cross to help rebuild homes damaged by the storm:
John Miller, CEO of the Red Cross on Long Island, who took part in the rebuild efforts in Massapequa and Long Beach, New York, said: “It’s been an extremely gratifying day. It is heartwarming to see so many volunteers come together to help people whose lives are still on hold in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.”
“This has been an amazing effort,” said Josh Lockwood, Greater New York Red Cross CEO. “I am so proud of our volunteers who have taken time away from their families to come out and help our neighbors who have not yet recovered from Sandy. “The Red Cross will continue to assist the local organizations as the needed recovery work persists.”
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 follow us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.