Hurricane Sandy and its effect on Brooklyn residents has receded from mainstream news, but it is far from over for the many individuals and families who lost their homes, personal belongings or suffered extensive property damage.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) has partnered with the Astella Development Corporation and opened an office in Coney Island to provide recovery and relief assistance to people living in the community. Coney Island was devastated by Hurricane Sandy and through the generous donations from various foundations, companies and individuals, BCS has provided support to people in need.
To date, BCS has distributed over $80,000 to provide water, food, furniture, household goods, clothing and help with repairs. But we have a long way to go. The effects of Hurricane Sandy will be felt for years to come.
To raise additional financial support, BCS has launched BKLYN Builders, our movement to provide immediate and long term support to rebuild the lives of Hurricane Sandy Victims in Coney Island. With funding from our partners and people like you, BCS can continue to help the thousands of people who are still in need of assistance, including Ms. Muhammed and her family, who generously shared their story.
Ms. Muhammed's family of five has lived in a basement apartment on Coney Island's 35th Street since 1999. The family consists of Ms. Muhammed, her husband, her son and 2 grandchildren. Ms. Muhammed's husband is in poor health having recently suffered a stroke. The family's main breadwinner is Ms. Muhammed's son who works as a tow truck driver. Ms. Muhammed contributed to the family by doing mending and sewing in her home, using her own industrial sewing machine.
WATCH: Ms. Muhammed's Story featured on Brooklyn Review
Credit: Brooklyn Independent Television, a community media program of BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn http://www.bricartsmedia.org/bit
To prepare for Hurricane Sandy, the family put all of their belongings as high up as possible. Still, their home was completely flooded and all of their things were lost or damaged—including clothing, furniture and the sewing machine. The grandson's car was flooded as well.
Ms. Muhammed estimates that the apartment was filled with 9 feet of water. Seeing the water rise, the family had to flee to the corridor of the 1st floor. They waited in the dark, still dressed in wet clothes, for the water to recede.
The apartment remained without heat, hot water and electricity for almost a month. The family had to shuffle between friends' houses. During this time, Ms. Muhammed's husband suffered another stroke and was hospitalized for 2 weeks.
With what little money they had, the family purchased a boiler and heater. A friend gave them a bed and they were able to buy a blow-up mattress. The family is being helped by BCS to replace all their beds.
Read Ms. Meres's story here.
When you donate a gift of $50 or more to the BKLYN Builders campaign, you become part of a community of individuals who are working together to build a better Brooklyn.
**On average, BCS has spent $2,250 on a family of four.