Neighbors helping neighbors after Sandy
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From the hyperlocal -- neighbors helping neighbors -- to relief campaigns coordinated on Facebook and Twitter, people are stepping up in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.
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Help from upstate
A group of firefighters and friends from upstate Pawling felt helpless watching the storm's devastation.
One was Stephanie Giordano, originally from Freeport, where her parents Nancy and Al live. Their home was flooded and its contents destroyed.
Giordano, 34, and her friends set off Tuesday in a caravan of vans, a fire truck and an ambulance filled with supplies donated by friends and businesses. The supplies are now at the Bamboo Bar and Grill on the Nautical Mile on Woodcleft Avenue, available to those in need.
Marcia Soling, 43, was out Tuesday cleaning her front porch, muddied from a foundation poured to replace one lost in the storm.
"This is what I can control," she said, using a cloth to wipe down the banisters.
Quickly, she was joined by neighbor Debbie Kitsos, 51. Neither has power, heat or hot water. Both have extensive water damage. They've been there for one another -- sharing food, support and cuddles from Kitsos' golden retriever, Calli.
The two also gave back: Soling's wood stove warmed an elderly neighbor. They said they feel overwhelmed by the losses and lack of electricity and heat. But, said Kitsos: "Good neighbors keep us all sane."
Dinner for two dozen
For six nights after losing power, Tony Antetomaso, 74, and Gale Forchelli, 65, of Bayville, hosted nearly two dozen of their Whitney Road neighbors for dinner.
Antetomaso said everyone contributed to the repast, which ended Sunday. Power returned Monday.
"They brought food, they cooked, they barbecued, we made stuff," he said. "Everybody pulled together. . . . It was really impressive to see."
Janet Diaz couldn't help the drivers parked on Herb Hill Road in Glen Cove by filling their gas tanks. But she could fill their stomachs.
When the line of cars stretched past her house Tuesday, Diaz bought two dozen doughnuts and went car to car.
"It's so sad, these people sitting in their cars," said Diaz, 44, who handed out blankets and let children use her bathroom. "They were there all night."
Drivers shouted their thanks as Diaz walked down the line.
'This is nothing'
Debbie Stein and husband James Knudsen won't let her mother, aunt and uncle return to their Plainview homes until power and heat return. Besides, Stein said, it's been fun.
"Some of their old Yiddishisms are going around," Stein said. "Every day there's a good little tidbit of advice or education."
Her mother, Ruth Stein, 87, and Curt and Gloria Sloan, 91 and 88, arrived last week. "My uncle woke up the other day and said, 'You know, I was in the Battle of the Bulge,' " she said. " 'This is nothing.' "
Sharing their power
Heather Klein, 40, and her husband opened their East Hills home to friends and their children when power returned Thursday. Since then, she's done countless loads of laundry, cooked meals, opened her pullout sofa beds, baked 20 boxes of brownie mix, and helped color and flat iron friends' hair.
"We've been an office, a hotel, a restaurant, a Laundromat," and a salon, she joked. "There's been a constant stream of people. . . . We're just very fortunate that we have power."
Klein said she's enjoyed the company, adding, "Everyone has been amazing. They've been bringing pizzas and bagels to feed everyone, ordering food. . . . It's good. I can't complain. There's so much devastation out there, it's very sad."