Year in Review, November: Recovering from Sandy in the Five Towns


After Hurricane Sandy slammed the Five Towns, several community organizations were spurred into action to help students, teachers, parents and community members who desperately needed clothing, food and supplies.

The Woodmere-based Five Towns Community Chest dispensed $100,000 to provide needed supplies to the community at several distribution centers, including the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence. In addition, Community Chest used storefronts throughout Woodmere as collection centers for donations of clothing, blankets, flashlights and other goods.

The Five Towns Community Center, on Lawrence Avenue in Lawrence, served as a distribution center for organizations such as the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management, which dropped off food and supplies.

Former Inwood and Cedarhurst resident Maria Cavallo Benkirane, a current resident of Boca Raton, Fla. and science department chair and the advisor of the Builder’s Club at the American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Fla., enlisted the school’s faculty, staff, students and parents in a donation blitz that filled a 53-foot tractor trailer with 22 pallets of supplies ranging from water to diapers to garbage bags. The truck transported the supplies from Florida to Cedarhurst village hall on Nov. 18.

Lawrence School District was closed for more than two weeks and reopened Nov. 13. Students in Hewlett-Woodmere lost eight days due to Sandy and the nor’easter that closed school on Nov. 8.

Gov. Cuomo visited the Five Towns

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, above, visited the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence on Nov. 21 to help hand out 500 turkeys and 500 individual Thanksgiving meals.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), County Legislator Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence) and Town of Hempstead Councilman James Darcy were also on hand for the governor’s visit and helped distribute the food that was donated by Costco, ShopRite, WalMart and Delta Air Lines.