NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Queens family had been stuck living in their yard since Superstorm Sandy hit two and a half years ago, but with the help of hundreds of volunteers, their home finally has been repaired.
As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, Doreen Stack, a single mother of two, saw her house in Broad Channel, Queens destroyed by Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012.
“All of the sudden, the water started coming through the floors, and two boats hit the back of my house and came straight through the windows, and then the waves just started coming through, and the walls started ripping apart,” Stack said.
Without insurance or the money for repairs, Stack lived in a recreational vehicle on her property with her 18-year-old daughter and 25-year-old son for more than two years.
“All I kept saying is, what are we going to do? Where are we going to live? This is it, we’re done,” Stack said. “We’re never going to be back in this house. I couldn’t afford to rebuild it.”
But volunteers changed everything. Work in Stack’s home began last October, with nearly 300 volunteers with the nonprofit group Friends of Rockaway spending six months drilling, stapling and sawing.
Stack’s damaged home has now been brought back to life, with new walls, paint, floors, windows and finally ready for her to move back in.
“To be home; to be into this house with my children again — that’s the best feeling ever,” Stack said.
The group has helped 74 other families rebuild since Sandy. But group representatives said there is a lot more work to do.
“While we’re celebrating the completion of this home, we are running 15 other job sites for 15 other families that were affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Thomas Corley, director of Friends of Rockaway.
But for Stack and her family, she was just grateful for the long-awaited homecoming.
“I can’t even believe there are people out there that would do something this wonderful,” Stack said.
The organization told CBS2 it still has a waiting list of about 20 families — just like Stack — waiting for help to rebuild and get back into their homes.
Friends of Rockaway is funded by the St. Bernard Project. The nonprofit group helped build 800 homes after natural disasters in New Orleans and Joplin, Missouri.