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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy destroyed my home. Not the physical one I live in, but the place I grew up. The island where I played with my friends, went to school, and learned to drive. Staten Island. My home.

Thankfully, my family members are safe. There was minimal property damage and only a few days without power. We're North Shoreres and only had to deal with Sandy's windy wrath. The South Shore of the island was not so lucky. Between the wind and the water, houses were loosened from their foundations. Residents were trapped in the upper floors of their homes. Cars were swept away and trees landed on streets, cars, and people. As the cleanup begins, the death toll continues to rise. People are missing and there is little hope that they will be found alive. They say a picture is worth a thousand words...  

All I can hear is heartbreak.

I can't go home. I can't help clean up. I can't hug my fellow islanders and share in their grief. In the aftermath of the storm, I felt so helpless. Suddenly, obessively following facebook and twitter for updates wasn't enough. Retweeting and reposting needs and distribution locations wasn't enough. Going to Fred's and buying a handful of toiletries, garbage bags, work gloves, and socks wasn't enough. (Although it did make me feel a little better.)

On November 10th, I am running in the Richmond Marathon. I am now officially running for Staten Island. I plan on wearing my high school cross country singlet (which surprisngly still fits. Although I will need to wear a shirt underneath. I don't need to scare anyone.) and dedicating a specific mile to the residents of my hometown. This is where you come in. If you have not already donated to Hurricane Sandy relief, I urge you to do so. Any amount would go a long way to helping not only the residents of Staten Island, but other communities in NY and NJ that were impacted by the storm.

You can donate as much or as little as you’d like…
$1 per mile = $26                                                 $10 per mile = $260
$2 per mile = $52                                                 $20 per mile = $520
$3 per mile = $78                                                 $30 per mile = $780
$4 per mile =$104                                                $40 per mile =$1040
$5 per mile = $130                                               $50 per mile = $1300

As always, the Red Cross is working tirelessly to serve the tri state area. You can donate there at redcross.org. Also, I have seen the hard work and determined spirit of Shaun King and the Hope Mob do wonderful things for the people of my city. Please follow them on twitter @hope and you may also donate to hurricane relief at their website hopemob.org.

To help the people of Staten Island, specifically, I would direct you to two charities. One is the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Tower Foundation and the other is the Carl V. Bini Memorial Fund. Both foundations were set up in memory of Staten Island firefighters lost in 9/11. Both groups are determined to help the people of Staten Island rise up in the face of trememdous loss. My facebook feed is full of status updates from Kevin Jamison, who is spearheading the recovery efforts for the Carl Bini Fund. He and his team have been working nonstop since the storm bringing supplies and essential items to displaced residents. They have been involved in cleanup in areas that are essentially destroyed. Your donation will aid them in continuing their efforts to help others.

First, thank you for reading this long and somewhat depressing post. Secondly, if you do decide to donate please let me know. I would like to carry your name with me as I run through the streets of Richmond. Lastly, please pray for Staten Island, New York City, and the New Jersey Shore. There is no question that they will rebuild, but it will be a long road, and they just need some help getting there.

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