Sandy shows the importance of community

Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast with unparalleled ferocity, toppling houses, flooding streets and pulverizing hundreds of miles of coastline. Yet, amidst the brutality of the storm, small acts of kindness have bolstered individual morale to face the challenges ahead.

Government action plans are instrumental in disaster relief, but the altruism and warm hearts of community members are the true silver lining.

As snowstorm Athena swept in last week only days after Sandy devastated the Staten Island community of New York, 600,000 people in New York and New Jersey still remained without power, according to Time magazine. These circumstances rendered the snow, wind and cold deadly for many—if not for the efforts of community members to protect those at risk.

Within days of Sandy’s arrival in New York, the Hallowed Sons, a motorcycle club from Brooklyn, drove down to Staten Island to help people along Cedar Grove Avenue get back on their feet. The group cooked donated food, hauled supplies and patrolled the neighborhood for security. According to Time, the group has been serving 2,000 hamburgers and hot dogs daily.

Neighbors have been on the lookout for each other as well. One woman told Time that her entire community in Totenville banded together in the aftermath of the storm.

“You can buy a house, but you can’t buy your neighbors,” she told the magazine.

Jennite D’Ambrosio, another Staten Island resident, was pleasantly surprised when “a wave of volunteers descended on her neighborhood and helped her clean out her home for free.”

She had been on the lookout for services she could hire, but had been unable to find anyone willing to accept the price she was offering.

The case of Staten Island demonstrates that community can make a huge difference in the face of a brutal storm. Acts like cleaning houses for victims or passing out meals in the streets may seem small, but the magnitude of their power to move others is immeasurable.

Never underestimate the power of warm hearts—especially in the face of cold-hearted storms.

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