In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy it was cold.
Thousands had been displaced, their homes badly damaged by floodwaters. Thanksgiving became an afterthought as recovery was just getting underway.
Five years after the storm devastated the Island Park community, and some are still out of their homes and struggling to recover. The lingering hardships prompted local businessman and developer John Vitale to hold a Thanksgiving dinner for residents still contending with storm’s aftermath.
More than a hundred people and roughly 30 volunteers gathered at Vitale’s Bridgeview Yacht Club for the event, which also served as a five-year commemoration of the storm.
“Some are displaced from their homes and others are just in need,” Vitale said of the guests. Finding helpers, however, was easy he said.
“If I wanted, I would have more volunteers than people eating,” Vitale remarked and noted that that requests to volunteer far outstripped demand, “Thanksgiving I guess, is a holiday that brings that out.”