SI Resident: 'Everybody Gets Forgotten After A While. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There is Black Friday and Cyber Monday – but in the wake of superstorm Sandy, a memorial fund has announced the formation of ‘Sandy Sunday’ to help struggling Staten Island get back on its feet.

The goal of the five-week campaign is to urge businesses and individuals nationwide to raise funds for the rebuilding effort, according to organizers.

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WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reports

“Our concept for Sandy Sunday is to raise funding to eventually be able to help the immediate relief of the community,” Massimo DiDonna told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

DiDonna is the co-founder of the Carl Bini Memorial Fund, named for his late firefighter father-in-law.

DiDonna said they are trying to live by the example Bini set.

“He always put himself second, always put the helping of someone in need first,” DiDonna told Miller.

The managers of the Muscle Maker Grill on Arthur Kill Road said they plan to donate a portion of their Sunday earnings to the cause.

“This is a business that just opened up in March so we are still trying to spread our roots and build the business up,” Maria Buonsante told Miller.

The restaurant is pitching in despite losing all of its food when the power went out, Miller reported.

‘Sandy Sunday’ will run every week through Dec. 23.

Despite the volunteer efforts in some of the hardest hit areas, it could take months for homes to be repaired and power to be restored.

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In New Dorp Beach, some residents remain living in their damaged homes despite winter’s rapid approach, CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian reported.

Some residents said they don’t want to leave for fear they may get robbed. Others said they have nowhere else to go, Dardashtian reported.

“Everybody gets forgotten after a while. Out of sight, out of mind,” a New Dorp resident told Dardashtian.

At heated tents in New Dorp, residents still without power warmed up in front of fires.

“There’s a lot of people here that don’t have electricity, they don’t have gas right now and they’re staying in their homes,” volunteer Donna Graziano told Dardashtian.

The city health department has warned those who are still without power to seek relocation assistance through FEMA or by visiting a city restoration center.

City officials said those without heat risk slowly developing hypothermia, which could prove deadly.

“They’re staying in their homes, they don’t want to leave. The elderly don’t want to leave,” Graziano said.

Residents said they are concerned the restoration effort could take months and in that time, they will be forgotten.

“Once you leave this immediate area, it’s like it never happened,” a resident told Dardashtian.

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