Thursday, November 15, 2012
During the final days there is still so much to be done but progress is being made. We spent our last days in Rockaway which was hard hit and was also one of the roughest areas (we were told) but we took our chances and everyone welcomed us with open arms. Rockaway had a terrible fire that burnt down an entire city block were delivered meals, leaving them no chance of returning to their beloved homes. That day was one of saddest since Ive been here. One guy was so upset that he broke down, he was living on stairwells trying to stay committed to his job and get assistance for this his family. Luckily ar had one last blanket to give out. Being it was last blanket this left the olderly man next without one. This man was going to give up this last blanket to the elderly man. This broke my heart so much I pulled out my blanket I brought and gave Otto a better home. My only request was that he took good care of it whig brought a huge smile on his face. Those huge smiles have become one of my favorite experiences here. Bringing that small hope that its going to be ok. Also, the stories that were told, these stories had tears involved but it let them tell their story and get it off their chest. I will miss a lot of things including: mischief we had waiting for food, my teams the boys who liked to show me the firehouses and the ladies where there was never a dull moment (I'm glad to be alive with their constant running into everything) I'm not going to miss "yard dog" barking order, my cot, and showering highschool style. Then again I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. One guy said.. you and I are a part of history now. I'm just glad I was a part of helping people and making their lives a little easier. I have the best experience and I wouldn't change it for anything. Thanks for allow the support.. Now I'm on my way back, I miss my friends and cannot wait to share my experiences. Love Christy
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Day 8 was break day. After countless hours we were given a day off to keep our sanity. Team 2106 took the subway into Manhattan after sleeping as long as we could. Thanks to the "the boys" (team for the first couple days) called and asked where we were (we obviously make their day much more fun) this wasn't long. Our first stop was to Ground Zero. It was Veterens day and there was a ora around the whole memorial. With firefighters, police and vets remembering what was all lost that day and years after. Walking down the streets that we all saw on TV Sept 11 covered ash brought much sadness to us trying to imagine what it must have been like. The new buildings are in the process of coming up and areabsolutly beautiful. The fountains where the buildings once stood is a. Awesome way to commerate the lives that were lost because we will never forget. The next stop was a informational boat ride around the Ellis Island where many people passed coming into this country and the Statue of Liberty. Next stop Wall Street where you see the giant bull and ate local cuisine from the street carts. Yum! Metropolitan Art Museum was next on the list (Ann's idea) but loved seeing some of the famous painting and art of all different eras and cultures. Top the night off at Serendipity with one of the largest desserts I've ever seen. When arriving back our ERV from he day we were stopped by two police officers :/. "The Boys" tried playing a little trick on us by having the police give us a hard time when we made it back. Little do they know the cops are helping us turn it on them so were making them sweat it out.. hays suckers Today I also decided that my team members are some crazy drivers.. Ann likes to run red lights and hit trees branches.. I thought I was going to loose my head after looking up last minute and seeing branches.. Joise also likes hitting tree beaches and backing into things.. I might have to take over soon to live and tell the stories :) its rough out here. We are also still taking the round about ways everywhere. I think that our GPS is set on something to not take on main roads. Beginning of day 9 our kitchen (where we load our trucks) have started giving out nicknames. The guy who calls our ERVs numbers to get in line is now called "Yard Dog" which is fitting because he just barks orders at ya. We gave ourselves the name "Ringo's Angels" Today were heading out to Howard Beach another hard hit area. Today's its a cold and wet one so Ann decided to buy Dublin Donuts coffee for clients.. what a sweetheart.. so the day begins.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Today was just like all the rest still so rewarding. My favorite moment of the day was a lady wanted to donate some clothing items. We directed her the best we could but she had a Minnesota Filings sweatshirt on so I started small talk. Its just so happened that her husband and her started a donation collection and somehow Adrian Peterson caught wind of this and spoke to the husband, who was extremely excited because he was such a fan. (Who could blame him.. I know) So Peterson's game day Jersey is being auctioneer off. How cool is that. Today we setup at a fixed feeding site in a local park where other assistance programs helped disaster victims. There were kids running around everywhere playing football and basketball, just having fun with friends. It was a nice change of pace. Tomorrow is my off day so spending the day in Manhattan with my crew. First stop were going to Ground Zero.. the rewarding part is that its on Veterans Day.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Saturday! Today we ventured in the worst area I've been to yet, Breezy Point. When we got down there we drove around to feed people and every house was turned inside out and in their front yard. We stopped first at a local FEMA camp and talked to an elderly woman. She stuck it out in the attic of her house praying to make it out alive. They had about 8 feet of water in her house and said luckily they had the housr raised otherwise water might have reached them. Her neighbors were not as lucky and were found earlier this week. :( Just down the block we drove in and out of streets and found a tiny community doing clean up so they took a minute to have supper. An old war vet sat on he bumper of the ERV and told his story. Him and wife had lived their for over 60 years and everything was ruined. The people around here are like walking zombies. They are working hard to clean and salvage what they can. They just want someone to sit and listen. Its been the best experience just being that person. To give someone a break from this reality for a couple minutes while they eat their meal. Today was entertaining because these people just get a kick out of smile.. not a lot of it down here. I told my story how in food line yesterday battling another ERV with New York songs.. they were helpful and gave me some I haven't heard of.. so the others better watch out..! I'm not going to lie I was wanting the normalcy of my life back this morning but you go out helping so many people and just makes reminds why I'm here.
Day 4 was a long day. Sleep has been limited but its part of the experience. I joined my co-part yesterday in her ERV along with a girl named Josie. While waiting for our food we lightened the mood by going back and forth playing New York inspired music over the loud kspeakers on our trucks. I think everyone in line, cooks, and loaders enjoyed it . (some did not U) but you can't please everyone. I don't think I told this story yet of a family I helped the other day. It was a family of 4 and when we drove by they were sitting by their window with a dim light (maybe a candle) they were all huddled around this so we stopped and a small boy was just waving at me like crazy. (it was so cute) I waved them out to come see if we could offer them anything but said they were fine. I asked the small boy if he wanted a treat and he came back with the biggest smile. The mom looked at him with tears and told me that was the first time in weeks she seen that smile. Of course I started tearing as well. he asked what we had and we had pudding and he wanted chocolate.. Luckily we had some so I gave him the whole commercial kitchen size. His mom laughed, we laughed and his eyes lit up like out was christmas morning. just luckily she had a can opener. We also gave the whole family a hot meals and blankets. Today were teaming up with my last ERV drivers and headed or to Breezy Point to serve more than 1,000 meals. I guess this location was destroyed and families lost everything and are still without power. So I guess we will be very welcomed and be a long enjoyable day. Also I guess we are going to have some celebs and press showing up so if your watching the news were at the Aquaduct Race Track and were kitchen 2.. Oh and last but not least... Go Huskers! :) Miss you all!
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Sleeping I'm a gym was a surprisingly good experience. Snoring was minimal but there was plenty of alarms bright and early.. We got about 6-8 inches of snow which was the the worst thing that could have happened to many residents in jamaica bay area. We got out delivering as many meals we could as fast as we could. Everyone has been in good spirits considering. People are slowly getting their heat back on but the reality is everyone lost everything. One gentleman had about 12 inches of water in his house and needs everything . The guys I'm riding around in a ERV are not only Red Cross volunteers but EMT and firefighter volunteers. They think it's fun to visit all the fire stations in the area.I've had fun doing this as well and learning. tonight we dropped off the left over food for them and sat and talked with the head honcho. With tears in his eyes he told me about his story with a good spirit. He was just proud of his crew and the support system their neighborhood and how grateful people are to help. The station didn't have damage but was while trying to help out durning the strom their truck caught on fire and is now ruined. (pics to come) I'm having the best time here. thank you everyone for helping me make it out here.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Today has been the most eye opening experience yet. Ann (my partner in crime) started at the headqurters in the fundraising department. When we arrid things had settled down and didnt have much for us to do. Ann and I decided to take an adventure to different departments to find something. Her analogy was the squeaky chair gets the grease. Met a man named Roberto and found out Ann was trained to drive an ERV. After re-assigning us to the mss care division we were shipped out to Queens. After arrival we were quickly separated to different ERV's so I've been riding around with two gentleman who embraced my nutty humor and we had a great time. We have been driving sound in Jamaica Bay handing out food to a local fire station while we finished round through the rest of the town. There have been boats in the middle of roads, numerous kitchen appliances, and other items that have been completely destroyed. I asked one gentleman we served food to said that he helped his neighbor that was stick up against his fence droning from all the water coming up. Another lady was still was without heat so we handed her a blanket but wanted to give a me huge hug. Almost broke my heart. Another family braved the storm to get a grill and be able to cook his family a warm meal. We cauht them on the way home disappointed because they couldn't find gas to get the grill going. Our chili put the smile right back their face Right now families are just starting to get power back on and heat in their homes. One boy said how excited he was to just take a hot shower. I've realized how much I've take small things for granted. Tonight I will be staying in a staff shelter with around 300 other Red Cross volunteers at SUNY college westbury and I can't wait. (hopefully I can say the same thing tomorrow) but u have my ear plugs. If has been snowing like crazy here and might not be able to make it back out.