Volunteers with the group God's Love We Deliver lifted the spirits of many people devastated by Hurricane Sandy Monday by delivering more than 3,200 healthy meals throughout the five boroughs. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
The kitchen prep begins before dawn. Roughly 900 volunteers helped prepare and deliver 3,200 meals to all five boroughs. Some of the clients are home bound, others more mobile, but still in need.
"Around the holidays, what's really heightened is that sense of aloneness," said Karen Pearl, president and CEO of God's Love We Deliver. "They're home, they are sick, they are by themselves. Some are struggling to take care of kids."
God's Love We Deliver has been making the deliveries since 1985. The organization has grown 60 percent in the last five years. Volunteers deliver 20,000 meals per week, about 1 million a year.
"It's really rewarding to get out here during the holidays, get into people's homes, give them a little something special for the holiday," said volunteer Patrick Schultz. "We usually give out some donated toys. We put together little toy kits for the kids."
God's Love faced a challenge after Hurricane Sandy when its SoHo headquarters lost power. Volunteers, though, were still able to get 8,000 hot meals to the Rockaways.
"We had a huge impact after the storm because we had no power, no ability to get this place up and running," way to get this place up and running. But working in the dark, our volunteers and staff made it in."
Their work is much appreciated by clients in the Rockaways. Darryl Ellison's wife is sick, so he takes meal deliveries twice a week.
"She is home bound," Ellison said. "She has muscle sclerosis. Sometimes she can get out of the bed. Sometimes she can't get out of the bed."
Ellison, and many clients like him,- were displaced after Hurricane Sandy hit.
"We had to evacuate for about two weeks," he said. "We didn't have any power or lights."
Not only did God's Love We Deliver provide meals for those in need, it also brought companion meals for home health care providers and relatives so people didn't have to be alone on the holidays.