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Friday, October 31, 2014

Community organization aids Sandy victims
(Page 3 of 4)
Courtesy Michael Gordon
Michael Gordon, far right, and his girlfriend Kathleen Bracker, second from right, with Nazarene Disaster Relief volunteers in the Rockaways.

Once the Atlantic Beach Bridge reopened, Gordon spread his efforts further west towards the Rockaways. With Thanksgiving approaching, he turned his attention to collecting food. He organized a food drive, and was contacted by East Meadow resident Joe Mallol, who is the executive chef of a Manhattan restaurant Harry’s Café and Steakhouse. The restaurant donated 40 banquet style meals comprising turkey, stuffing, vegetables and dessert.

Gordon coordinated with Mike Henneborn of Heinz, and the company donated 16 pounds of soup. He also received two 17-pound turkeys from Stop and Shop in Bellmore. Over the course of two days, Gordon and his volunteers fed 1,500 people in the Rockaways and Long Beach.

Though the residents were still suffering in the wake of Sandy, lacking heat, electricity, food, and more, Gordon and his volunteers represented a beacon of hope for some of them, like Chris Hofmann, who lives on Grand Boulevard. “He meant the world to us. He gave us Thanksgiving dinner that we probably wouldn’t have had,” said Hofmann. “He came through for us in every way possible. He was a saint.

“If he said he was coming back, he came back,” Hofmann continued. “He kind of renewed my faith in other people. To see young people like that, of his caliber and his heart, it kind of renews my faith in the younger generation.”

While in the Rockaways, Gordon teamed up with Josh Siewdass, who, with his family and neighbors, used his Beach 36th Street property as a relief headquarters for people to drop off supplies. “Over the past few weeks, [Gordon] has been here and been assisting and helping us,” said Siewdass. “He came with quite a few volunteers and have been giving out clothing, food, toiletries.

“He’s doing a good job and the community appreciates it very much,” Siewdass continued. “He’s been a good person.”

A full-time job

Originally from Queens, Gordon has spent time living in Hamilton, NJ, where he volunteered as a firefighter. He moved to East Meadow to live with his mother and grandmother in 2003, and then moved to Florida one year later. In 2011, he returned to East Meadow.

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