Playground Has Been Littered With Dead Trees For Past Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton joined volunteers in the Rockaways and on Staten Island to help with renewal efforts a year after Superstorm Sandy.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, shovels hit the dirt as volunteers cleaned the playground across P.S. 43, at 160 Beach 29th St. in Far Rockaway, Queens.

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“We are talking away all the dead trees from Hurricane Sandy,” a volunteer said.

The trees were killed off by saltwater floods. They have sat on the playground as an eyesore throughout the past year. Grace Delre from Manhattan was surprised at how much work was left.

Chelsea Clinton Volunteers

Chelsea Clinton joins volunteers cleaning up a Far Rockaway playground nearly a year after Superstorm Sandy. (Credit: Jim Smith/WCBS 880)

“I think it just goes to show how devastating the hurricane, storm was,” she said.

Last year, such a project was not even on the radar, said Jennifer Bruynesteyn from Manhattan.

“You were worrying about the immediate need last year, and now these are longer-term issues, and it’s wonderful and important to make the environment beautiful, but it was more important to feed people and to clothe them,” Bruynesteyn said.

Clinton participated in the cleanup project, as well as another project one on Staten Island. She was set to break ground on the future site of a so-called resilient house that is specially designed to be energy efficient and withstand future storms at a reasonable cost.

Clinton was expected to join the home’s future owners and offer remarks.

This was the second Sandy-related `Day of Action’ the Clinton Foundation has sponsored, working with thousands of volunteers.

‘Sandy Service Day’ In New Jersey

Volunteers mobilized to continue recovery efforts in the Garden State on Saturday and a lot of small jobs were completed by people with big hearts, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported.

It was a show of force up and down the Jersey Shore as the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches.

Volunteers gave up their time at Island Beach and Seaside Park where firefighters who worked heroically during the storm received a hand.

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“We’re just trying to help give back to them and recreate their break room and their space and make it a more comfortable living space for them,” volunteer John Donvito said.

In Keansburg, school children will be able to enjoy new picnic tables.

“It’s still hard to believe there’s so much that still needs to be done. that there’s still people suffering,” volunteer Christine Costello said.

At St. Rose High And Grammar School  in Belmar there was a small but dedicated group of volunteers brightening things up for recess fun.

“You know they say, ‘remember, rebuild, recover’, and I feel like people aren’t remembering. People aren’t remembering what we went through,” volunteer Katie Mattis said.

A year ago the facility suffered enormous damage during the storm. The convent basement has just been rebuilt, thanks to the work of volunteers.

“There was 9-ft of water and over 300-lbs of fish swimming around down here with sea turtles and a few other things,” volunteer Kevin Jones said.

The continuing clean up efforts were not unappreciated.

“We have learned a lot in the course of the year, but most importantly we’ve learned that we have a lot of friends helping us along the way,” Sister Kathleen Nace, Principal, St. Rose High School, said.

Tuesday will be the exact anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, it will also be a day of service in New Jersey. Governor Christie and cabinet members are expected to join volunteers who will be helping those who are still recovering a year later.

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