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New York City Holds Day Of Service For Sandy Victims

A house is seen with its entire first floor washed away as well as the entire surrounding area demolished when Hurricane Sandy hit the coastal estuary in the Oakwood Beach area of  Staten Island on Nov. 6, 2012. (Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

A house is seen with its entire first floor washed away as well as the entire surrounding area demolished when Hurricane Sandy hit the coastal estuary in the Oakwood Beach area of Staten Island on Nov. 6, 2012. (Photo credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City held a day of service Saturday in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, to assist those who have been devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg kicked off the day of service Saturday morning on the steps of City Hall. Afterward, volunteers were to assist at an organized American Red Cross distribution and feeding site.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports

The volunteers then split to small groups and head to distribution locations. Volunteers were advised that they should be ready to stand or walk for long periods of time, climb stairs, or lift up to 50 pounds.

As the effort got underway, an army of volunteers with brooms and shovels fanned out to start the cleanup of the boardwalk at Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reported.

WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola reports

“Not the biggest, most important thing, but like, it has to be done,” said Nicole Kontolefa of downtown Brooklyn.

Natasha, who lives in Brighton Beach, was emotional as she watched.

“It was so scary to see it. But we survived. Thank God,” she said. “We’re not going to move.”

Another woman, Kate, had no heat, no hot water and no electricity, and she says the Red Cross services have been extremely helpful.

“Service is very good, very good help. My husband lose car, and now we have to walk. We buy food. I have a baby; one year only,” she said.

On Staten Island, volunteers were working on a massive cleanup operation, taking items off the streets and putting them into the dumpsters. Many houses also went house to house with shopping carts, volunteer Emilio Sarullo told WCBS 880.

“The biggest need is cleaning supplies – bleach, gloves, shovels – anything you can think of that people could use to clean up their homes, that’s what they’re in need of – masks; some people are concerned with the air quality around here,” Sarullo said.

Storm survivors received food, water and emergency supplies at three locations – the parking lot at Brighton 4th Street and Brighton Court in Coney Island, Brooklyn; the Beach 41st Street Community Center at 426 Beach 40th St. in Far Rockaway, Queens, and Miller Field on New Dorp Lane in Staten Island.

Also as part of the effort, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn visited relief efforts with teachers and volunteers at St. Margaret Mary Church, 560 Lincoln Ave. in Staten Island; Tom’s Restaurant, Boardwalk and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn; and the Arverne Edgemere Community Center, 57-10 Beach Channel Dr. in Far Rockaway, Queens.

As 1010 WINS Carol D’Auria reported, by 8 a.m., four people had arrived from Philadelphia to volunteer at the Beach 40th Street site – before the site had even opened.

One of the volunteers, Jonathan, said he remembers all the work that had to be done after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“So when it happened up here in New York, being so close to the family that we have here, we thought this was our opportunity to give back to the people,” he said.

Did you participate in the day of service? Leave your comments below…