Greetings Hamptons Mouthpiece Readers, 2012 was an eventful year and I am so happy that it is over. There were so many eventful occurances for the year like Hurricane Sandy, the Presidential elections, Sandy Brook Elementary massacre and the Movie theater massacre. Soon after “Sandy” I visited Island Park an area in Long Beach New York that was hit hard by hurricane Sandy; our mission was to help a homeowner move stuff out of her home before mold took over. A member in the East End Cares group asked us to help her neighbor who had a boat stuck in her backyard and the owner of the boat refused to remove their boat. I saw the post on Sunday morning and was moved to help out, so I said I was available to travel to Island Park and got ready and prepared to go. I put on some clothes that I did not care about and was out the door in 10 mins….I met up with a member of the group and we drove into Long Beach. I was nervous because I did not know what to expect. When we got there Rannie the homeowner was on site and apparently this was her 1st official day walking through her once beautiful home.
The very first thing I did was just hug her and let her cry because it was increasingly overwhelming. We all see these images of complete devastation on television but we are emotionally disconnected because we are not there in person, we do not know the person. We all sit in our nice warm homes and say well they should be thankful that they are alive and well, but until you are experiencing what they are going through you can never truly understand the magnitude of the situation. Yes they are material things that can be replaced but for some of these people items that they have worked so hard for and they will probably never be replaced or even re-built. East End Cares is a filled with truly remarkable people who unselfishly and generously volunteer their time and financial support. My heart is warmed knowing that there are people like this in the world.
It is now 3 months later and many that are suffering are unfortunately the people from low income communities better known as the projects. These people had no place to go, no family to stay with and they stayed in their wet, moldy homes. They were sleeping on wet beds, dealt with no elevator service, heat or hot water, respiratory problems from inhaling the mold and loss of income.
Volunteers like Claudia and Wendy Tarlow work endlesslessly volunteering their time to help these victims, there is always someone travelling to one of the devastated areas. I had the pleasure of visiting one of the warming centers in Rockaway in December with my friend Cindy Cobb McGowin and her friends. We played Santa Claus for the day, giving out gifts, delivering food…her car was filled to the top. Cindy was giving out envelopes filled with money to Hurricane victims. We spent the day serving lunch and it was one of the best days of my life. I was so moved I volunteered my time on Sunday and drove with both my girls and trays of desserts…thanks Jane, Joan, Laura, Helen, Cindy.
Friends these people are still in need of our support and prayers. My friend Cindy visited the Rockaway Beach area this week and wrote on her Facebook wall:
The Red Cross has pulled out of Rockaway Beach. They made their appearance and are now gone. First Congregational Church, 3200 Beach 94th Street, Rockaway Beach, is our new contact. This wonderful church is distributing a multitude of items 7 days a week and will soon have a soup kitchen. It will take months and months to recover, if ever, from the devastation. She added the items that they are still seeking: Rockaway wish list: sm.-med. sized bottles of bleach, pinesol, lysol, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, garbage bags, qt. sized zip-locs, toilet paper, paper towels, humidifiers, bath soap, reg.-travel sized shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, diapers. Adults need socks and underwear. Kids need book bags, notebooks, and pencils. Canned food. Any quantity. All very much appreciated.
Many of you may be thinking these items are available to purchase at stores, yes they are but these victims cannot afford to purchase these items. Many of them are homeless because they have no home and nowhere to go, many are staying in their mold infested homes because they would rather stay there then live on the street. Today was a victory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and many homeowners, but for some who were denied by FEMA because they did not live in flood zones this will take years to rebuild and some will never be able to rebuild. Without the love and support from the hundreds of volunteers many of these victims would be in worst conditions than they are. Thank you East End Cares for you’re tirelessly commitment to helping in areas like Island Park and Rockaway, we still have so much more to do.