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Nonprofit Helps Queens Sandy Victims "Rebuild A Room"

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TWC News: Nonprofit Helps Queens Sandy Victims "Rebuild A Room"
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More than 100 Broad Channel families got help rebuilding a room in their Hurricane Sandy-damaged home from a nonprofit group. NY1's Agnes Chung filed the following report.

Broad Channel resident Vicky Boden said it was hard explaining to her daughter what happened to their home after Hurricane Sandy.

"We had to gut the whole apartment, and she kept saying her house is broken," Boden said.

Now, she's looking forward to putting Elizabeth in her new room.

The Bodens are one of 150 Broad Channel families chosen by lottery in the "Shop 'til You Drop Rebuild-a-Room" project hosted by nonprofit group Family-to-Family, where $28,000 worth of gift certificates were shared among the selected homeowners to purchase materials for rebuilding a room in their storm-damaged homes.

"We are a small organization that basically links families throughout the United States with more to families with profoundly less," said Pam Koner, executive director and founder of Family-to-Family. "In this case, when the hurricane hit, we morphed our model and decided we wanted to help a community. We decided to focus on Broad Channel because it's a small community that our organization can impact in a large way."

The money for the gift certificates came from grants and donations.

"Right now, the house is completely gutted, and little by little, things like this help," said Mark Dana, who was displaced by Hurricane Sandy.

"It's really very helpful," said Dorothy Napolitano, a Broad Channel resident. "Just to see one room completely done would be a blessing to me."

The event was held in Breezy Point because the gift certificates are for sales at Breezy Point Hardware and Breezy Point Lumber. Both are local businesses trying to recover after being hit hard by the hurricane.

"They're helping businesses, too, which is good, because we need all the help we can get," said Kathy Dady, owner of Breezy Point Lumber. "We're trying to stay in business."

In addition to the gift certificates, families also have the opportunity to win some raffles. The grand prize is an exterior siding makeover from James Hardie building products, worth $4,000.

"It's really nice that, you know, there's still someone that is willing to help us," said Agnieszka Chomicz-Grabowska, a Broad Channel resident. "We really, really appreciate it."

To find out more about Family-to-Family, go to family-to-family.org.

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