SEAFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A group of good Samaritans have come together to help a Long Island family that was forced to move back into their Sandy-damaged home.
Tom and Maureen Johnson and their two daughters, 11-year-old Viktoria and 12-year-old Stephanie, returned to their unfinished and unfurnished Seaford home on Friday. The entire first floor of the house, which is on a canal, was ruined by Sandy.
The family was living at a rental home in Wantagh, but said staying there was no longer an option.
The Johnsons said they used all their savings for the rental and while they both have jobs with Verizon, they said their income barely covered living expenses. They said FEMA assistance amounted to less than $5,000.
“We had to use all our insurance and savings, everything we had, borrow from my 84-year-old father,” Tom said.
Because of the stress of trying to rebuild their home, Tom, a cancer survivor, recently had to get a pacemaker.
News of the family’s plight spread and on Friday, they were greeted by friends and strangers who just wanted to help.
Tom Sutcliffe, a businessman from New Jersey, filled their oil tank. John Liotta, a retired educator from Medford, sent the family $200.
Bill Bongiorno of Great Bay Contracting in Bay Shore is helping the Johnsons finish repairs to their home.
Lana Santorelli from Manhattan and her husband, Lenny, gave the family $15,000 as well as iPads and iPhones for the girls.
“I’m grateful that they’ve allowed us to help them,” Santorelli said. “You do what you’re supposed to do.”
The Johnsons were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and generosity.
“It raises my hope in humanity. To be a part of something good just gets to you,” Tom told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
“Coming home is the greatest thing, but this is unbelievable to have this kind of help,” Maureen Johnson told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “It’s wonderful, it really is. I’m so glad there are so many wonderful people in this world.”
“It’s really exciting with all this extra help,” 12-year-old Stephanie Johnson said.
Other good Samaritans have also come forward offering furniture, dishes and other items.
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