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Volunteers Spread Holiday Cheer In Areas Still Reeling From Sandy

Young Judaea Volunteers On Staten Island On Christmas (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Young Judaea Volunteers On Staten Island On Christmas (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some high school volunteers are getting their hands and boots dirty this holiday to help victims of superstorm Sandy on Staten Island.

“A lot of my friends, they do whatever. They party, they go out with friends,” 17-year-old Ari Abramson from White Plains told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

Abramson and a few dozen fellow Young Judaea volunteers from all across the country are spending their Christmas breaks and Christmas Day helping the relief effort.

“I mean, sure, people are donating all this money. But who’s actually doing the work, and who’s going there, moving these boxes and actually putting the effort in to make things happen,” Abramson, a high school senior, said.

The volunteers from the Jewish youth organization are serving up meals to those in need under tents in New Dorp Beach.

“Even two months after the storm, you come and you see all this damage that’s been done and it’s so saddening to see how this is still such a disaster,” Abramson told Miller.

Other volunteers said they got as much out of the experience as the people they helped.

“Just seeing people come and how much it means to them that we are here and that we are able to help them and it just makes them so happy, everything is worth it,” Young Judaea volunteer Antonia Nevias-Iga told CBS 2’s Drew Levinson.

For Debbie Ingenito, whose home is in ruins, having people who care is special.

“It’s just amazing, it really is. It’s amazing. I want to cry right now, I really do, because they should be with their family too,” Staten Island resident Debbie Ingenito told CBS 2’s Levinson.

1010 WINS’ Gene Michaels reports

In Belle Harbor, volunteers pitched in to help the Red Cross feed Sandy-affected residents on this Christmas.

“We just want everybody to have a warm meal on Christmas,” a Red Cross volunteer in the Rockaways told 1010 WINS’ Gene Michaels.

Some of the volunteers traveled a long way to lend support on Christmas.

“We actually just showed up yesterday. We’re from northern Virginia,” a volunteer named Victoria told Michaels. “We want to do a little something more meaningful this Christmas so we just showed up and they put us to work.”

Others came from nearby to spread the holiday cheer.

“A friend of mine right around the corner, he was in the process of getting flooded out and then his house caught fire. I knew a number of people in Breezy [Point] too,” Walter from Brooklyn told Michaels.

On Long Island, volunteers took time out to help clear out rotting wood and potentially toxic mold from flooded out homes.

“I kind of wanted to just look at Christmas from a new perspective,” volunteer Kristen Kramer told Levinson. “Helping people, not looking at it through a materialistic perspective and helping the community, I guess you could say.”

Kramer from Bayport in Suffolk County came with the disaster relief agency Nechama to help clean up and gut badly damaged homes in Freeport, Long Island.

Have you volunteered today? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below…