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Marathon Volunteers Visit Long Beach Neighborhoods

NYC MORE 2012, an organization of runners, have helped with post-Sandy relief efforts in the city on successive weekends.

Volunteers return from day's work.
Volunteers return from day's work.

Story and Photos by Steve Fiorentine

Since Hurricane Sandy hit, hundreds of out-of-town volunteers have displayed their unwavering kindness and generosity by aiding relief efforts and assisting residents devastated by the storm in Long Beach.

The storm meant the cancellation of the New York City marathon, and one group of runners from the city decided to organize a different kind of marathon: NYC MORE 2012. It stands for New York City Marathon of Relief Efforts, and for the past two weekends the group has bused volunteers into Long Beach through the sponsorship of businesses and private donors.

“This group has provided focus and control and is going to help Long Beach move forward in the recovery effort which we’re really happy to be a part of,” said Sarah Hartmann, NYC MORE 2012 co-founder and operations manager. “We’re all about putting the right people in contact with the people who need help.”

On Sunday, the volunteer group mobilized throughout Long Beach as part of their “Marathon Sundays,” to check in on residents to find out about their needs and to pass on information about where they can get help.

“We’re calling it operation information,” Hartmann said. “On behalf of the City of Long Beach Police Department, our volunteers are going door-to-door and collecting a resident survey of information.”

“It’s intended to help communicate immediate needs,” Hartmann added. “I know that it’s been really tough to get the instructions out there in Long Beach and folks need to know that help is on the way.”

The group also strives to facilitate the giving of large donations. On Sunday, its members donated boxes of black contractor bags, hand warmers and Bellwether Coldfront jackets, donated by the California-based Bellwether Profile Design to the distribution center at the Long Beach Ice Arena.

NYC MORE has deployed thousands of volunteers to areas hit hard by the storm across the New York area. In addition to Long Beach, the organization has had coordinated efforts in Red Hook, Staten Island, the Rockaways and Coney Island.

“One of the really amazing things that we have been able to do is partner with the city, local and national organizations that are coordinating those efforts,” Hartmann said. “That’s really part of our mission to make sure that we are responsibly participating. We’re not just showing up and kind of descending upon the community.”

According to Hartmann, Long Beach is behind in its relief efforts compared to other areas that NYC MORE has visited but has been making progress.

“I’m just speechless in terms of how lacking we are in volunteers [in Long Beach], so I’m really happy that we are able to bring a bus of volunteers down here today,” Hartmann said. “I feel like a lot of progress has been made between last Sunday and this Sunday just coming into town and seeing how much demo stuff is out; that’s pretty amazing.”

Being out in the community, NYC MORE has come across a wide variety of needs and its members are prepared to assist with people’s immediate concerns in any way that they can. Hartmann said that many people, especially the elderly, are need medication and people to clean out the things soaked by water in their homes to avoid mold.

“Needs shift on a moment-by-moment, second-by-second basis, so one of the things that we ask our volunteers to do is be flexible, Hartmann said. “Be patient; you may be pulled off of something because there’s a more immediate focus or need.”

Anyone interested in getting involved with NYC MORE 2012 by volunteering, donating, or sponsoring can do so by visiting their website www.nycmore2102.org, monitoring their Facebook page or by emailing them directly at nycmore2012@gmail.com.

“The response has been truly amazing and a wonderful thing to be a part of,” Hartmann said. “We just want to do more. That’s what we say. We’re NYC MORE.”

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Frankie G. November 20, 2012 at 12:16 AM
This is great, can't believe no one was doing that. Crossed my mind the first week, but couldn't get into Long Beach & figured someone already set it up. House to house is the only way to get and disseminate information in thse situations.

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