There was enough warning, you could watch the weather channel and the local news to watch the path of Hurricane Sandy. Everyone knew she was coming. Experts were predicting the worst-case scenarios. But in the aftermath, the truth of what Hurricane Sandy left behind in the burned-out homes in Breezy Point, Queens, to the flooded buildings and subways in New York City. The reality of the devastation was widespread and heartbreaking. In the words of President Obama “This is going to take some time,” he said. “It is not going to be easy for these communities to recover.” We have seen the resiliency of New York City and it’s citizens’ uncanny ability to pull together in times of great tragedy. From the terrorist attacks of 9/11, to Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers have a spirit that is not so easily broken.
That strong spirit brought together Feed The Children, Lowe’s, the NFL Players Association and others to bring aid and lift the spirits of the victims of Sandy. Feed the children partnered with Lowes home-improvement stores at three different locations, Tom’s River New Jersey, Rosedale New York, and Bay Shore New York, sending semi-tractor trailers of disaster relief supplies to help victims in need. Former NFL players Scott Davis, Christian Peter, Keith Elias, and Damian Gregory were all on hand to assist in delivering the supplies to the community.
Suzanne Werdann the vice president of partner development and sports relations for Feed The Children stated, “Damian Gregory was a huge hit with the Rosedale Lowe’s employees as well as families receiving product. That particular store had 5 feet of water and was still closed to the public. Most of the 100 employees had their homes affected” Scott Davis, Christian Peter, and Keith Elias (Former NY Giants) worked the Tom’s River Lowe’s store “it was raining most of the morning but there were probably 100 people that came through between 10 and 12. it was myself, Christian, Keith…, along with about 20 Lowe’s employees. We handed out diapers, cleaning supplies, food and water. We took pictures and signed autographs for the volunteers. The people in need were all very thankful and many had tears in their eyes, it was great to help out.”
Damian stated, “The event went extremely well I was the only player present but we gave away most items to the folks that needed it most.” Demonstrating the difficulties for all New Yorkers, other former NFL players like Courtney Hall committed to participating but because of the fuel rationing in New York he could not get fuel for his vehicle to make it out to the site. Other former players are helping out as well like former Super Bowl Champion Giants player Bart Oates who spent time on Staten Island helping to clean out the basements of the flood victims. Bart’s quote epitomizes the spirit of New York and it’s people, “I just enjoyed working with other folks and seeing the appreciation from those we helped.” Former Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis a VP of sales at FEPCO Trucking |WPS Team Logistics, helped his company to deliver donated aid to the areas of need in New York City for FEMA. Even athletes from other major sports like the New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony have come to the aid of New Yorkers. Carmelo, a native of Red Hook, Brooklyn hand delivered aid to his old neighborhood.
For former and current athletes, volunteering oneself to help the team is not a foreign concept. It is a concept that is embraced and continually exhibited by many on the field in service of ones teammates, and off the field, long after the game is over, in service on one’s community. Suzanne Werdann of Feed The Children summarizes that positive effect, “The players really did make an impression not only on the families but the Lowe’s employees and the volunteers. They allowed them to forget about their problems for a few moments and that was worth more than any supplies we could have provided.”
Photo Credits: Feed The Children