Local donations help provide Sandy victims with Thanksgiving dinner

Posted at: 11/20/2012 4:53 PM
Updated at: 11/21/2012 10:49 AM
By: Benita Zahn

DEER PARK - Many folks in the Capital Region will be hosting family this thanksgiving, from the areas hard hit by Super Storm Sandy, but thousands will be in their storm damaged homes, relying on the Red Cross for that holiday dinner.

The Capital Region donated $183,000 to the Red Cross through Your Help Counts.

Like countless residents on Long Island, Lillian and Joe O'Brien are stuck. Their cars were ruined by Sandy, their days are spent cleaning water damage before mold takes root, power is intermittent power but waiting for insurance adjusters, ongoing.

The Red Cross is an integral life line.

“ We can't get out there to get the food so they come with the food. They really been great,” said Lillian and Joe

Anita Foster of the Red Cross says this relief effort has been more challenging than most.

“To date we have served more than 6 million meals and snacks across the Northeast Region of the U.S. and we have distributed more than $2,000,000 relief items and we're only three weeks in,” said Anita.

The damage, she says, covers an area the size of Europe.

300 people are still in Red Cross Shelters and thousands continue to rely on mobile feeding.

Deer Park is one of four sites preparing hot meals. In Deer Park, Long Island, a local recreation center has been transformed into a kitchen that on Tuesday provided 9,000 meals to people like Joe and Lillian - and to those who are helping with relief efforts. It will also provide turkey dinners on Thanksgiving.

Mitch Henry's family is back home in Arkansas. He's been in New York since October 27.

He set up and runs this kitchen, managing it like a successful football coach.

Everyone know the plays and executes them exquisitely.

“We start at 4:30,” he said.

“This is the donated dollar at work so this is a gift from the American Public to the American public. We facilitate that gift,” said the Red Cross.

Red Cross volunteers from across the country work side by side with volunteers from the Southern Baptist Convention. As it's said, many hands make light work.

The trucks are packed, not only with food but toiletry kits, blankets and more.

Once packed they fan out to affected areas where they'll feed folks till 6 p.m. each night.

“We do have power we don't have hot water and some people don't have heat. How are you managing? It's cold. I know. day by day with  thanks to people like the red cross and other volunteers that are doing their job “

“What better thing can you do than shelter or feed your fellow man?” said Mitch Henry of the Red Cross.

While your Help Counts Sandy has ended, the Red Cross continues to accept donations.

And now, our partner in “Your Help Counts,” Price Chopper, is raising money for local folks in need this holiday season with  “Check out Hunger.”