Lawrence High School senior Stephanie Kendal said it was important for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to see how Hurricane Sandy affected those in the Five Towns as he visited the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence on Nov. 21 to help hand out 500 turkeys and 500 individual meals.
“His visit shows that he’s willing to come to a small community and see the devastation the hurricane caused,” she said.
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 to help distribute the food which was donated by Costco, ShopRite, WalMart and Delta Air Lines.
Lawrence School District Student Government Association (SGA) Advisor and Social Studies Department Coordinator Stephen Sullivan said four SGA officers, including Kendal, and the senior class president, Nicole Robinson, were invited to hand out Thanksgiving dinners because Cuomo wanted to meet students participating in hurricane relief efforts.
“It’s nice that there is a recognition by elected officials and that the kids did this; they are so involved and have been applying to some of the top schools in the country but when Sandy hit, everything came to a stop,” he said. “Many of them lost a lot but were still down [at the Five Towns Community Center] folding clothes and giving out food to those in need. It’s important for them to miss class to help out so they can get recognized for all they’re doing.”
Marianela Jordan, the Nassau regional representative for Cuomo’s office, said she learned of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in the Inwood and Lawrence communities from Skelos and relayed the information to the governor’s office. “Inwood needed additional resources and support,” she said. “The governor has us on the ground listening to the needs of the community.”
Bertha Pruitt, the executive director of the Five Towns Community Center, said the governor wanted to visit those who suffered the most from the hurricane. “He saw the pain and hurt from residents and wanted to make sure he were able to touch the families of those in the community,” she said.