One year ago today, Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast, costing many lives – inflicting billions and billions of dollars worth of damage. Locally, here in New York, people were left homeless, some homes washed away — other destroyed by trees or fire. It was devastation on an epic scale.
Locally, here in Woodhaven, there was considerable damage (though we got off very easy compared to our neighbors in Howard Beach and the Rockaways). We spend the first day licking our own wounds (click here for the list of damage along with pictures).
The biggest blow we suffered was the loss of our tree at Forest Parkway — it was a shocking sight.
The following day, after numerous residents asked whether or not we’d be accepting donations, we opened the doors of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, and the donations flowed. Clothing, bottled water, diapers, medicine, cleaning materials — it was an amazing outpouring of generosity and caring by the residents of Woodhaven.
And we didn’t just accept clothing — the many volunteers that came in sorted it, folded it, organized it. We didn’t want to just go down to the Rockaways and drop 50 bags of random clothes on their doorsteps — they had enough to contend with — it was an exhausting first day, but we accomplished a lot.
Here’s some video from that first day —
Many trips to Breezy Point, Howard Beach and the Rockaways followed. Gasoline was scarce — but many residents volunteered to drive down to the collection points anyway. And when you drove down there, you walked away realizing how very lucky we were here in Woodhaven.
The weekend saw some cold weather come in – but our residents kept bringing in the donations — and we brought them to several different donation points throughout the area, destines for points all over New York. The residents of Woodhaven donated over 1,000 bags of clothing — all of which was sorted and labeled. There was tons of food, water, baby supplies — and cash money, which was used to buy even more food and supplies.
Even after the initial rush, there was work to be done. There was a flashlight vigil held at the site of our fallen tree on Forest Parkway where we asked residents to come and pray for the victims — and bring flashlights!
And finally a toy drive for the children of Hurricane Sandy —
Never have I ever been more proud to be a resident of this community. There were so many people that came in and out of the offices of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, proving that we can do fantastic things when we work together. And although we haven’t seen many of these volunteers over the past few months, we know they are out there, and that should another disaster occured, they will be there to lend their fellow neighbors a helping hand. God Bless each and every person who took part in the relief efforts – it is deeply appreciated.