Coney Island residents came together Sunday for a good meal and also to show that they're fighting their way back after Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
The line formed early, with Coney Island residents eager for the chance at a free warm meal. One year since the hurricane and many say they're still struggling to get by.
"Before the storm it was okay, but after the storm everything is kind of complicated. There's a lot of repairs that need to be done for the people to be healthy and satisfied," said Evelyn Rhodes, a Coney Island resident.
As a way of helping out on Sunday 3,000 plus free warm meals were distributed at the Coney Island Gospel Assembly. Since Sandy swept ashore the church has been a gathering place to help people recover.
"We wanted to have a sit down dinner so that people could actually know we're trying to get back to normal or as close to normal as we possibly can, and a sit down dinner is for the community to unite and let them know that we are still here," said Coney Island Gospel Assembly Event Manager Sharon Lundy.
The food was supplied by Mercy Chefs, a nonprofit relief organization that was on the ground in Coney Island after the storm hit. They came back Sunday to show they haven't forgotten.
"Everybody's here right after the storm, and everybody's getting service right after the storm and help. But you know a year later on the anniversary we thought it was important to come back and say we love you guys," said Mercy Chefs Founder Gary LeBlanc.
The event was about more than just one meal though. The Red Cross was on hand to distribute ready kits and offer advice on storm preparedness in the event another emergency were to hit.
"You gotta make a plan, and stay informed. So you have to have supplies on hand to keep you for a couple of days if you don't have power, keep your family to have water and non perishable food," said American Red Cross of Greater New York CEO Josh Lockwood.
The most resounding message though was clear.
"Even though it's almost been a year basically, that they still care," said one Coney Island resident.
And that's important as so many in this neighborhood continue to fight their way back.