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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Helping those in greater need
One Franklin Square family travels to Long Beach in hurricane aftermath
Courtesy Krista Testani
Krista Testani, right, with her husband Louis and their children Benjamin and Rebecca.

A smile, a handshake, a warm sandwich — that’s what Krista Testani felt her family could offer Long Beach residents as they put there lives back together. Testani and her family lost power in their Franklin Square home for nearly two weeks, but like many Long Island residents, they felt fortunate that was all they lost. While Testani and her husband, Louis, and their son Benjamin, 12 and daughter, Rebecca, 10 went without power for some time, Testani wanted to show her children that others had been hit harder.

“Franklin Square definitely suffered in its own sense,” she said. “But obviously we fared a lot better than those close to the water.”

So on Nov. 11, two weeks after Hurricane Sandy ravaged Long Island, Testani loaded her family into their car along with platters of food from A&S bagels on Hempstead Turnpike and headed south. Testani said she made the decision to travel to Long Beach and experience the damage first hand so that her children would have a better perspective on the pain and suffering other Long Island residents were experiencing. “It was hard for them to really grasp what happened,” Testani said of her children. “We decided we really needed to go down and bring the kids.”

Having been without power for so long also meant her children had little opportunity to see the damage on television or the computer. Crossing into Long Beach was the first time the devastation crossed their eyes.

The family had no plan other than handing out food to residents they saw on the streets in Long Beach’s west end, an area Testani had heard was one of the hardest hit. The family saw many Long Beach residents out on the front lawns, assessing the damage and trying to salvage whatever they could. “We literally just drove up and down the streets,” she said. “We stopped and opened up the trucks and offered people the food we had and just talked to them and listened.”

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