At Visitation Church on 98 Richards St. in Red Hook, people lined up around the block to receive food and supplies on Saturday. Volunteers from the Red Hook Initiative and from different charities in Brooklyn and Queens worked with police to bring supplies into the church and distribute them fairly to those in need of aid.
There were two separate lines for food and basic supplies. Further down the road was a group of tables with piles of clothes being sorted by groups of volunteers. The inside of the church was used to contain all the many donations brought to help the people of Red Hook in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The crowds were large, and cooperated with the volunteers to smooth the arduous distribution process.
Beverly Horning, Red Hook resident and mother of two, said her family lost most of their possessions when her house was flooded during the storm. Horning claimed she was still “waiting for FEMA” to provide her with basic provisions like clothing, gas, and pampers for her 4-month-old baby, Innocence. “Nobody has money. We’re scrapping what we can. I’ve got no help except for the lines,” she said referring to distribution centers like the one at Visitation Church.
Inside the basement of the church, members of Global Potential, a volunteer based non-governmental organization, worked with shovels, rakes, brooms, and a wheelbarrow to clean up debris in the basement of the church, which was flooded during the storm.
Frank Cohn, the founder and executive director of Global Initiative, explained, “we heard there was a lot of need, and we wanted to help.” The volunteers, he added, brought all of the cleaning supplies themselves. Most of the volunteers were young, and from places not severely damaged during the storm.
A school bus drove up filled with clothing, and people created an assembly line to funnel the supplies into the church. “We need some more people upstairs!” someone yelled. Within a minute, three people were running up the stairs to bring supplies onto the second floor.
Tony Schloss, a member of the Red Hook Initiative, explained that on 402 Van Brundt St. there was another distribution center designated for cleaning supplies, and on 9th Street at the Miccio Community Center there were other volunteers distributing food and other basic necessities.
People were genial, and quick to remark about the virtue of cooperation, but many were coming to terms with the tangible losses and emotional toll caused by the storm.
Nikita, Beverly Horning’s 2 year-old daughter, still refuses to talk about what she saw. Whenever Beverly tries to bring up the experience of the storm, Nikita “always says ‘we’ll talk about it later.’” Horning explained that while her family watched the flood from their porch they saw “cars and batteries exploding,” and she does not know “how badly the storm effected” Nikita.