The Action Center of Far Rockaway Forced to Slow Down Distribution Efforts

Superstorm Sandy had a huge impact on New York City, especially parts of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and lower Manhattan. Far Rockaway, Queens has suffered greatly, with the majority of its boardwalk destroyed, homes and businesses burnt to the ground, and residents left homeless. Since the storm hit in November, I’ve been a volunteer in post-Sandy relief work. I’ve volunteered on Staten Island, in Red Hook, and the Rockaways. A dear friend of mine was severely affected by the storm in Far Rockaway, and I was inspired to help her and the community. One of the places I volunteered is The Action Center, located on 57th Street and Beach Channel Drive. It’s a distribution hub within a community center, which is part of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) houses.

The first time I went to The Action Center was with New York Cares on January 17th. I was assigned to sort and fold clothes. Unfortunately, I tripped over a crate and fell on my way to the ladies room. My face was cut and swollen, as well as my ankles and right arm. At the time, I didn’t know my elbow was fractured. The nurse and volunteers were extremely helpful and accommodating. I remember saying to everybody, “Here I am trying to help you out and now you have to help me!” I promised them I would return after my injuries healed, and on March 1st, I did. I prepared and packaged meals to distribute to residents. We took turns giving out hot meals, bags, boxes of canned and dried food, and water to incoming residents at the center. I was in charge of water, which was requested by the majority of the people who came to The Action Center.

I learned from the team leader that the water quality is not good in the area. Occupy Sandy has been donating food and supplies to The Action Center, as well as City Harvest and The American Red Cross. However, distribution efforts may be stopped due to fewer food donations and supplies. There’s also been a decrease in volunteers, and the center isn’t open seven days a week as it was before. This shift is disheartening.

Although it has been four months since Sandy hit, residents in this community are still struggling to get back on their feet. New York Cares continues to partner with The Action Center to have volunteers donate their time to help residents. Monetary donations are always welcome, and you can make a donation to The Action Center here.

Together, we can continue to make a difference.