The Largest Sandy Relief Site in Manhattan

In the shadow of the power plant that exploded during Hurricane Sandy to darken lower Manhattan,
the Alphabet City community embodied grace in the storm.

Days before the City of New York arrived in the Lower East Side with water and emergency assistance for victims of Hurricane Sandy, the community arose to care for each other. The largest relief site in Manhattan began when community groups and humanitarian agencies that had previously worked with Pastor Richard Del Rio at Ground Zero following 9/11, called upon him again for leadership following Sandy. In all, the Lower East Side pop-up relief site served approximately 20,000 people over four days, provided 14,000 hot meals, made home deliveries to all known home-bound residents of the surrounding housing projects identified by relevant agencies, and hundreds of New Yorkers rallied as volunteers to make it all possible.

The line that didn't end for days, Avenue D & 11th Street.

The Hurricane Sandy relief site at Dry Dock Park at Avenue D and 10th Street was organized by a grassroots network of churches, NGOs, community partners, and volunteers on Tuesday after the storm. We received our first shipment of relief supplies from Somebody Cares America on Wednesday night, and began distributing water, non-perishable food, and other needed supplies Thursday morning. The effort swelled as Operation Blessing supply trucks and a mobile kitchen courtesy of Mercy Chefs arrived on Thursday afternoon. FEMA and City Officials began supplementing and reinforcing the effort Thursday evening.

In all, the Lower East Side pop-up relief site served approximately 20,000 people over four days, provided 14,000 hot meals, made home deliveries to all known home-bound residents of the surrounding housing projects identified by relevant agencies, and hundreds of New Yorkers rallied as volunteers to make it all possible. Numerous city and NYPD officials called it the largest relief site in Manhattan and marveled at its grassroots leadership. Even the New York Times called the work a "miracle." 

Primary leadership was given by two neighborhood churches, Abounding Grace Ministries and Trinity Grace Church, rooted in Abounding Grace's previous experience organizing relief efforts at Ground Zero following 9/11, along with Inwood Church from Upper Manhattan. 

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Richard Del Rio
By the Community, For the Community