This post was written by MADRE interns Kaleena Simoni and Bonnie Haskell.

Packed into a taxi, basically sitting on top of each other, and surrounded by suitcases filled with clothing items, bags full of toiletries and medications, and boxes filled with feminine pads, we were hoping for the best.  We were headed downtown to the 6th Street Community Center to drop off the items to benefit the survivors of super-storm Sandy’s widespread destruction, but the trip had all the aspects of a potential calamity.  We had both been late to work due to train rerouting and chaos on the transit system that were also a result of Sandy’s destruction, the traffic down to the shelter from the office was horrendous, the shelter’s street was completely closed off, and the rain from the impending Nor’easter had officially transitioned into snow. But we Helping Hands Interns carried on!

MADRE staff and interns with generously donated necessities for an NYC shelter.

We were so lucky to find a cab driver willing to help us out! Even with all the traffic and rain, this woman was so sweet and helpful. After running through the ice-rain and (slightly precariously) helping our wonderfully patient cab driver back down a road to the shelter, we arrived at an absolutely beautiful building.  We were happy to meet Howard, a kind man who was incredibly welcoming; the Community Center had beautiful colorful stained glass adorning the upper walls and an internal energy that matched its stunning décor.  Even with a recent power outage of half its building’s electricity, the Center’s operations were running smoothly and positively.  We were ushered to the back room where we disseminated our donations and they were immediately organized and sorted by eager volunteers.

The super-storm Sandy might have demonstrated the power of nature, but it also revealed the power of humanity.  Everyone worked against the elements to provide for those that needed it most – the two of us battling hours of transportation delays and the Nor’easter to be available to bring donations to the shelter; MADRE’s generous employees and donors, who gave us so many useful items to contribute; our cab driver, who stopped the meter to help carry our heavy boxes into the shelter; and the directors and volunteers of the Community Shelter who were selflessly lending their time and space and resources.  We were proud to be a part of it all and hope the best for everyone affected by Sandy.

So many people still need our support. Find out how you can help!

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