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Local Volunteers Help Hurricane Sandy Victims in Staten Island

"If there is anything that you can do during this holiday season, in the spirit of the holidays, please think about how you can make a difference."

The following acticle is a submission by Wyckoff Resident Carrie Soumas Thompson:

Tis the season!  That is what one thinks of after the turkey has been carved and the Thanksgiving Day parade is over.  Time to get the presents ready and house decorated.  But this past Sunday, not many people were thinking so much about shopping.  This past Sunday, as in every day since Hurricane Sandy hit our coast, over 4 weeks ago, the people that I spoke to are just thinking about how to stay warm, how to eat, and what they are going to do to survive.  Their homes are gone or they have to rebuild. 

They have no power, no heat, no running water.  The folks that got hit with Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island are hurting.  They are hurting and they are not far away.  They are right across my bridge.  They are right across yours.

Theresa Gallo and Kim Zak are two local Wyckoff residents who are part of a Facebook page called Wyckoff Moms. Together, for the past 4 weeks, they have organized a food and clothing drive that makes the hour and a half trek way out to Midland Avenue in Staten Island.  With the help of local Wyckoff  businesses, hot food is delivered and served to the hungry people who to this day still have NO POWER.   Wyckoff Moms have come together to make sandwiches, brownies, cookies, plates of pasta.  They have donated quilts, blankets, clothing, hats, scarves, gloves, new socks and underwear and all of it has been taken by people in need right across our bridge.

“Sandy, you can take our homes, but you cannot take our hearts.”  This is what was spray painted over plywood nailed to someone’s home.  When I arrived in Staten Island on Sunday, those words showed me the kind of people that live here.  Amidst the unbelievable destruction, I saw American flags hanging on people’s property…fences, doors, yards.  The pictures cannot even describe the mess that exists from street to street and I cannot fathom that this still exists 4 weeks after the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.

We met with people, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and served them hot meals. Many of these being proud people that you could tell felt uncomfortable being fed on the street.  These people are just like you and me …except that they have no heat, no hot water, no food, no home.  They need help.

If there is anything that you can do during this holiday season, in the spirit of the holidays, please think about how you can make a difference.  These people will hold the spirit of the holiday season in their hearts because Sandy did not take that.   As a matter of fact, they had a Christmas tree standing right by our tent.  But this year, they will not be having a holiday as we know it.  So, while all of us enjoy our gift giving and warm meals, please take a moment to pray for those less fortunate and think about how you can make a difference.   Please take a moment to think about those people right across your bridge.

(Wyckoff Moms is a closed group on Facebook for moms who live in Wyckoff.  The following establishments have donated so very generously to help these people….The Brick House and Aldo’s, Sugar Flake Bakery, The Market Basket, Sanducci’s, Dunkin Donuts and Pizzeria Mandara.  The support of the community is greatly appreciated.)

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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