NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some New York Yankees stopped by the Rockaways Monday, to praise one church that pitched in to help another affected by superstorm Sandy.
When Sandy flooded St. Camillus-St. Virgilius Parish, the Rockaway Special Athletes lost their place to play.
St. Rose of Lima Church, which suffered minor damage in the Oct. 29 storm, took the kids in.
“I just had a mom tell me that her daughter kept saying ‘who is Sandy? Why would she hurt us?'” St. Rose of Lima Church principal Theresa Andersen told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “Kids should never have to suffer for things that [they] have no control over.”
The story of lending a hand touched the Yankees. Many players, including pitchers Ivan Nova and Preston Claiborne, stopped by Monday to play ball with the kids, who all suffer from disabilities.
“They’re doing it just for the love and enjoyment of their day and for us to be able to come out here and make them a little bit happier makes me happy,” Claiborne told Diamond.
The pro athletes played basketball, wiffle ball and kickball with the special athletes.
The Yankees donated $10,000 to the special athletes and the two churches that turned a tragedy into something good.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think it was going to be this type of surprise,” Rockaway Special Athletes founder Joe Featherston told Diamond.
The visit was part of the fifth annual Yankees HOPE Week. Each day this week, the team will shine a spotlight on a cause it’s deemed worthy of attention and support.
Every member of the organization, from the players to general manager Brian Cashman, will take part in Helping Others Persevere & Excel Week.
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