Story by Giselle Gomez
It was 11:00 am and the sun was attempting to pierce through the foggy sky in Lido Beach, Long Island. With a huge smile on her face, Faye Lagares of Queens, NY began loading food, water and comfort kits filled with blankets, trash bags and other items into Red Cross vehicles. Faye, who works for Citibank, is a brand new volunteer. Citibank’s volunteer program is dedicated to connecting their employees with volunteer opportunities in their communities.
“A request came in for around 50 volunteers and in a matter of hours every slot was filled,” said Faye. “Many of our employees were affected [by Sandy] and I just felt I needed to do something.”
Jessica Fleurimond from Philadelphia, Steve Brown from Texas, Giselle Gomez from California, Kabir Tombat, an AmeriCorps member currently working with the Greater New York Red Cross Chapter and Red Cross Long Island Board Member Joel Greenberg, all joined Faye, going door to door throughout Lido Beach distributing meals and supplies.
One of the team’s main goals was to reach senior citizens living in high-rise apartments who still did not have power. At each building, the group divided into teams of two, going to floor-to-floor and ensuring that all residents received food, water, blankets and supplies.
“It was just truly incredible how we all quickly came together to help,” said Giselle Gomez. “At the end of the day, we were not strangers, but instead a family.”