New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees playing Financial Football with...

New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees playing Financial Football with students from Bethpage High School Jan. 30, 2014 at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

About 20 Long Beach families have been able to rebuild their Sandy-damaged homes because of a donation from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Brees and his wife, Brittany, made a $200,000 donation through their Dream Foundation to assist Long Beach families in storm recovery, the United Way of Long Island announced Thursday.

"Brees was inspired by the outpouring of generosity from Long Islanders after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city of New Orleans and was happy to return the kindness during Long Island's time of need," according to a statement from United Way of Long Island.

The grant to the United Way helped rebuild 20 homes in Long Beach damaged by wind and floods.

As an example of one family helped, a United Way disaster case manager worked with one Long Beach resident, Madeline Benegas, who cared for her parents, two children and her brother who was paralyzed in a traffic collision.

Sandy tore part of the roof off Benegas' home and left more than 6 feet of floodwater in Benegas' basement and 2 feet of water on the first floor. The United Way used funding from Brees' donation to build a new roof and replace gutters, Sheetrock and insulation to the home.

"None of this would be helpful without your help," Benegas said in a statement released by the United Way.

The United Way of Long Island was also assisted in Sandy recovery by the United Way of Southeast Louisiana and United Way Worldwide, Long Island President and CEO Theresa Regnante said.

"We needed a Saint and we are very grateful for the Saint from New Orleans who came to our aid," Regnante said in a statement.

Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman also thanked Brees and the United Way. L.I. families still rebuilding can call 2-1-1 for disaster case management referral. Residents can also call 888-774-7633 Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.


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