RED CROSS REBUILDS
Nearly 75 American Red Cross volunteers teamed up on Saturday, March 29th, helping to repair Sandy-damaged homes in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island as part of a Red Cross Month Sandy Rebuild effort. A home in Canarsie was included in the much-needed recovery process.
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).
A home at East 103rd Street was chosen based on a low-income homeowner application that was submitted to the Canarsie Coalition. The home was on a long list of Sandy-ravaged properties still not habitable after 18 months.
The volunteers were also excited by the work they carried out that day.
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:
•The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation – $721,550 to hire local, skilled labor – plumbers, electricians and carpenters – to help repair up to 110 homes on Staten Island
•Friends of Rockaway – $721,550 to hire local, skilled labor — plumbers, electricians, carpenters and handymen — to help rebuild 90 homes in the Rockaway Peninsula
•Rebuilding Together – $2.25 million to repair and rebuild homes in New Jersey and New York
•Southern Baptist Disaster Relief – $850,000 for rebuilding homes in New York and New Jersey, building materials and staff and volunteer support
•United Methodist Committee on Relief – $2.5 million to provide financial or housing assistance to 700 households in New York, Connecticut and Maryland
•New York Cares – More than $250,000 to work with partner organizations to identify their most pressing needs, create projects to bridge the gaps, and recruit, train, and deploy teams of volunteers in activities related to Sandy recovery
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.”
Rebuilding Together, which is not an official disaster relief organization, is planning on coming back to Canarsie to finish repairing nine homes on April 26th. Nearly 300 volunteers are expected to take part in the event, as Canarsie is now the focus of the organization’s mission.