During my few months at home I’ve been getting involved with some charities and doing as much volunteer work as I can. I was a bartender at the charity: water Ball in December and most recently I’ve been working with New York Cares to gut houses in the Rockaways, Queens that were flooded by Hurricane Sandy.
Several areas of Queens as well as parts of New Jersey and Brooklyn, are still nearly entirely devastated by the effects of Hurricane Sandy’s floods and winds. Over 20,000 homes are still uninhabitable, and the more time that passes before renovations take place, the more mold grows and the worse the health risks become. And although the federal government has begun releasing $50 billion in aid, physical manpower is still necessary to assist homeowners – many of whom are elderly or disabled – in getting their homes back into habitable condition.
Gutting houses is perhaps the most rewarding work, not just in terms of service but also physical and emotional release, that I have done. I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Chalmette, Louisiana back in 2006 with the Wharton Council and I’d wanted to do it again ever since, but never thought I had enough free time or the funds to get more involved. Luckily, New York Cares makes it extremely easy for volunteers in the New York area to spend a day working. If you want to get involved, visit the New York Cares Disaster Response site to volunteer or donate to relief efforts.
All photos taken and posted with permission of the homeowner