Saturday we met up and set off for Staten Island. We found the group who dispatches you got kinda a scary introduction but it was necessary and warranted. It's totally surreal. The neighborhoods look normal. Houses and cars line the streets. They are all destroyed. You start the see the insurance company names spray painted on the cars, the belongings being pulled out of the houses, the personal belongings strewn all over the ground. Then there are the tractors whizzing by getting rid of the debris. The neighborhood we were in first is a few miles in land, so I already I was like if it's this bad here I cannot imagine what's by the coast.
The coast is like a post-apocalyptic scene. There's a house taken off it's foundation in the middle of the street. There's a huge parking lot filled with debris the size of a football field. The destruction is just mind blowing. I still do not think I can grasp it. A woman we helped Kathy, was awesome and she told us the story of her 20 year old neighbor who was washed out of his home while he was sleeping. The neighbors next to her got him to let go of her deck and caught him as he floated and pulled him to safety on their roof. Her home was elevated, and the water still reached and destroyed her entire first floor, some of the second. They were hit with about a 20 foot wave surge. She was still in shock, could not talk for long before she teared up, but so grateful for help. It was heartbreaking. I mean I am grateful for help cleaning anything. I cannot imagine if it was to clean out my destroyed home. We met people from the Good Shepherd Episcopal church who packed up and drove from Dallas. They were feeding volunteers. Their thought was comfort food, the food their kids liked, and liked we did. They also had their kids write notes to the volunteers which was so thoughtful.
It was so nice to see with my own eyes these people are not forgotten. There were groups of volunteers everywhere. People were helping everywhere they could. Dropping off coats, blankets, and toiletries while we were at the homes. What I did not see was a lot of governmental assistance, or even any of the big aid agencies. People did speak highly of FEMA and how quickly they had been to act.
Saturday night I was off to a benefit for a girl who had her electric wheelchair stolen. WHO DOES THAT?! I mean seriously, who steals someone's wheelchair? It did remind me while benefits are cool and worthwhile I like getting out there and working with people. I like connecting with people, hearing there stories, putting a face to a news story and hope that this becomes something I do more often.
|Jugo's got the water. I have a mouthful of gummy bears #priorities.|
|On the side of a house.|
|Left standing but shredded.|
|On the road.|
|Streets and streets of this.|
|Rainbow Brite Man wanted to help a girl get some wheels.|
|Quick shower and ready to go.|
|Propped up by the wall cause we're sleepy. Photo c/o Studio Havens.|