When superstorm Sandy hit Long Island, Carol Fleischer and her family were forced out of their Massapequa home.
Aside from a few personal belongings stuffed hastily into black garbage bags and thrown into the attic, all of their possessions were lost and their house became unliveable. The entire first floor of the house was flooded, and they now live in a trailer outside of their home.
During the holiday season, Massapequa Moms, a community group based in Massapequa, paid Fleischer and her family a surprise visit, bearing gift cards and other goods so that she could give her three children Christmas presents.
“I was in my pajamas when they showed up at my door,” Fleischer said. “I was in such shock. It’s incredible what your neighbors will do.”
The donation was a part of the Massapequa Moms Adopt-a-Family Secret Santa project, an initiative designed to provide local families affected by Sandy with holiday gifts.
Massapequa Moms held a special meet-and-greet dinner on Thursday for their members at the Riviera at Massapequa. A percentage of proceeds from the event, totaling $600, were donated to the YES Counseling Center, a nonprofit organization on Grand Avenue in Massapequa that offers counseling and social services to youth in Nassau County who are unable to afford it. Additional proceeds will benefit families still dealing with Sandy’s aftermath.
“It’s all about getting together and letting our hair down,” said Massapequa Mom member Stephanie Hartman, 39, who led the organization’s Helping Hands Facebook project for Sandy victims who needed a place to list their needs.
Massapequa Moms started out as a Facebook page that served as an open forum for residents in Massapequa to share information and provide resources for the community.
“First the group started off as a fun place to get information,” Fleischer said. “And then suddenly [after the storm] the group became our lifeline.”
At the dinner, Massapequa Moms founder Dawn Boyle Kostakis announced the group will be team up with local news website PequaNews.com to continue fundraising efforts for local Sandy victims and other future residents in need.
“It’s a good fit for us,” said Kerri Romeo, president of PequaNews.com. “We can help facilitate the work the group has been doing.”
Kostakis also announced the Massapequa Moms group received the Women of Distinction Award for the Town of Oyster Bay for its efforts during the aftermath of Sandy. They will formally receive the award in March.
”Sandy really brought a lot of people together,” Hartman said. “It really showed us as a united front.”