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Students Rally for Hurricane Relief

By Andrew Pavlakos, SGA President

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the HCHC community came together to raise nearly $2,500 to donate to the hurricane relief efforts. On Saturday, November 10,students Peter Romanovsky, Dino Koutroubas, Jennifer Cowles and I traveled to Staten Island with 1,000 diapers, 10 mops, 6 brooms, 60 flashlights, 100lbs of dog food, 100lbs of cat food, 12 bottles of rubbing alcohol, 192 AA batteries, 48 D batteries, 2,000 rubber gloves, 1,600 baby wipes, 12 gallons of bleach, 9 gallons of Pinesol, 128 carpenter bags, 180 towels, 190 masks, 25 pairs of leather work gloves, and 7 roles of duct tape in an effort to help those most affected by the storm begin to restore their lives. We also donated money to Holy Trinity – Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Staten Island so that the church could provide home improvement store gift cards to people in need of supplies to rebuild their homes.

When we arrived on Staten Island, we were taken aback to see the total destruction that occurred in the neighborhoods nearest to the shore. Homes were knocked over, burned down, moved across streets, and were so damaged by flooding that they needed to be totally gutted. Cars were marked on the windows by insurance companies, thrown over fences, moved into yards, and totally destroyed. Emergency vehicles and military trucks were going through the neighborhoods as if it were a war zone.  Some of the schools were still closed because they didn't yet have power restored, weeks after the storm.  One local elementary school we passed was being used as a morgue; one house we walked by as we were handing out supplies had had two bodies found in it the day before.

In all of this horror and destruction, we did however see the body of Christ, each part working together to heal itself.  The Greek Orthodox church we were working with on Staten Island had so many supplies but not enough hands to distribute them, while a Muslim relief group centered in Manhattan had too many hands and not enough supplies. Somehow, the Muslim group heard about the church and came to us with a U-Haul, offering to bring much-needed supplies to people in Queens. How beautiful it was for me to see the parable of the Good Samaritan played out in reality on Saturday, and then to hear it in Liturgy on Sunday.

The HCHC community gratefully thanks the Student Government Association for organizing the relief efforts on campus and extends its thanks to all those who made contributions. We continue to pray for our neighbors in New York and New Jersey.