I found a volunteer group that organized school buses to take volunteers to the shores of Brooklyn to help in the recovery efforts taking place in some of the hardest hit communities. it is difficult to try to define ‘hardest hit’ as there are literally thousands of communities in such great need. The group, ‘rockaway help’ had six buses carrying about 200 people on Saturday morning, going not only to the Rockaways but to Staten island as well. Once we arrived in Rockaway Beach, we registered with Team Rubicon, a Afghanistan and Iraq veteran organization. Once registered, you are assigned to a team leader with ‘work orders’ received from neighborhood residents. The work orders included: cleaning out basements, removal of drywall, kicking large appliances to the curb, yard ‘cleanup’, garage emptying, mopping, sweeping, bucket dragging, smiles, and, sometimes (and most importantly) hugs.
We worked throughout the morning, came back to the staging area for lunch, regrouped, re-armed ourselves with supplies and work orders, and started all over. Although urged to bring your own lunch, here are a number of food trucks now that offer free food to anyone who needs a hot meal. The lines you see include out-of-state workers as well as neighborhood residents.
Although used repeatedly, ‘devastation’ is too small a word to describe the scenes. A ton of work has been done with great strides made. There is a ton of work to be done – and it is going to take quite a bit of time.
My Saturdays are officially taken for as long as it takes.