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Grassroots Volunteer Efforts Take Hold On Long Island

With Official Help Said To Be Lacking, Americans Come From All Over To Help
Donations On Long Island (credit: CBS 2)

Donations On Long Island (credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some residents on Long Island have complained that official help has been slow in reaching them in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

The storm has brought about grassroots relief efforts from people across Long Island and from as far away as Texas.

“I see people just asking for socks and underwear so I started a drive, got people to donate socks and underwear and I’m standing on a corner handing it out,” Sayville resident Mary Olsen told CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff on Monday.

Others were handing out food to help energize other relief workers and residents cleaning up the mess left behind by Sandy.

WEB EXTRA: Find Out Where To Volunteer

“Every little bit helps these people. They’re down and they’re just trying to recover so this one step, they got a sandwich, they can keep working and not be hungry,” Mike Morgan told Gusoff.

Volunteers were organizing on social media or just showing up with offers of help.

“What I would suggest doing is going to the towns where the areas devastated and just getting your hands in there,” volunteer Colette Morales said.

More organized channels of help were also set up across Long Island, including FEMA, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Island Harvest. They were handing out meals, clothing and water.

Chris Mallon drove from Fort Worth, Texas to volunteer.

“I believe we fed about 500 people today,” Mallon told Gusoff.

But many residents with flooded cars and no means of communication claimed help wasn’t making it to stranded streets.

“I have not seen any official help at all,” Long Beach resident Stephen O’Brien told Gusoff.

Some residents said even without heat, power, gasoline or even garbage pick-up, the lack of information was most troubling.

“We haven’t gotten a single ounce of information in regards to the catastrophe that we’ve all experienced,” East Atlantic Beach resident Roger Gengo said.

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