Two years following Superstorm Sandy, We Care New York, an organization that helps people with their needs during crisis and natural disasters, continues to remember the families affected by it. Hundreds attended the second annual “Light the Shore Gerritsen Beach” on Thursday, October 29 to remember the tragic day despite the wet weather.
Michael Taylor, founder and president of We Care New York, was proud of this year’s event. “Without a doubt, the point is to honor and remember those who lost their lives and show support to those rebuilding. Considering it rained, the day went pretty well,” he said. “This year, we wanted to put a positive side to day, so we had rides for kids. During the day, 150 kids and their families got wet and went home. Then at 7 p.m., we had another 150 people attend the ceremony.”
It was important for Taylor and the local organization to provide fun festivities for the children. “The kids were thrilled to have rides and games,” he said. “It certainly brought hundreds of smiles and laughter some of those same kids who were dragged through water and dealt with the storm. It was nice to see them happy and laughing, having a good time. “
Kids also participated during the ceremony by saying the Pledge of Allegiance. A girl scout also recited a poem about helping people needing help.
Local dignitaries also braved the storm to offer their support. Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblymember Alan Maisel were among those in attendance to offer comfort to the community, in addition to the FDNY and members of the Marines. “It was nice they were there,” said Taylor. “They were one with the people, standing side by side in the rain, to remember the lost lives.”
Despite the emotional day, the rainy weather did lower attendance from last year, when over 500 people showed up. However, the message that people are still struggling remained. “It means different things to different people. A majority of people are back to normal or back to a new normal. But most also have unexpected debt. People used retirement funds, kids’ tuition funds, money they didn’t plan of spending,” said Taylor. “There are still hundreds of people struggling to get back in their houses.”
To learn more about We Care New York, visit www.wecarenewyork.org.