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Facebook page connects Oceanside Sandy victims
Jessica Taub Rosenberg and Alyssa Sacher have a number of things in common. They both grew up in Oceanside and graduated from Oceanside High School. They both moved from the area. And they were both deeply concerned about how the community was affected by superstorm Sandy.
Now they share a popular Facebook page started after the storm that serves as a platform where people can find out the latest about everything from the progress of power restoration to the area, to links to news stories to where displaced residents can find shelter and clothing. Followers of the page also use it to share their personal Sandy stories.
Sacher, 38, of San Francisco, said she became frustrated about what she says was a lack of information about the town immediately following the storm
"Every time I did a website search nothing was coming from Oceanside," Sacher said. “That really upset me, so I decided to do something for my hometown.”
Taub Rosenberg, 32, of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, agreed. "People are literally left in the dark and that’s what caused all this," she said. "I felt compelled to keep posting, telling people anything I could find out."
At first, they created separate pages that provided similar information. They connected on Facebook and decided to combine their efforts under Sacher’s page, Oceanside, NY Hurricane Sandy Updates
The page now has nearly 3,700 “Likes.”
After her parents, Ann and Elliot Taub, were evacuated from their home on Concord Avenue in Oceanside, they returned to assess the damage and found both of their cars underwater and damaged beyond repair, but the house, without power, was intact.
“My father said it looked like the picture we saw after [Hurricane] Katrina,” said Taub Rosenberg. “Some had their whole first level wiped out and others were in 4 feet of water.”
Saundra Koenigsberg, a follower of the page whose Oceanside home is still without power, said she uses it every chance she gets because her family is among the many in Oceanside who felt the wrath of Sandy.
The first floor of her house on Lindbergh Avenue was under four feet of water and the family’s four cars were ruined. She said the page has helped gain back a sense of normalcy in her life.
“What it’s doing is helping me focus on how much closer we are to getting power back,” said Koenigsberg, 57. “The page has helped me see what other people in my community are doing and what places are open offering hot showers, food and electricity.”
Her son, Zack, 26, lost his bedroom on the first floor after the storm caused flooding.
“We lost everything,” she said. “I haven’t been to work. I don’t know if I’ll have a job when I come back. I don’t even know what day it is. My life, as I know it, has stopped.”
Sacher, who graduated from Oceanside High School in 1992, said she spends hours before and after work posting information.
Even though she lives across the country, her heart still goes out to her hometown and her family’s whose homes on Carrel Boulevard sustained significant flood damage.
“I’m just trying to get the word out to residents that everything will be OK, and that they are not forgotten,” she said. “I just want to help people link up with resources.”
Taub Rosenberg’s main goal is to assure residents they aren’t alone.
“I found that people responded most to knowing that their frustrations could be heard,” Taub Rosenberg said. “It’s bringing a lot of people together, which is the ultimate goal.”