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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Malverne residents reach out
Chris Engelhardt

“We decided to spring into action after Hurricane Sandy,” said longtime Malverne resident Tom Grech. “We’re trying to assist communities that were badly hit — we need to help people across the South Shore.”

Just days after Sandy wreaked havoc on Malverne, resulting in damaged homes, downed trees and numerous power outages, Grech, along with fellow Malvernites Lori Lang and Nina Miro, banded together to form RepairRestoreRenew the South Shore of Long Island — a group that collects funds and provides direct financial assistance to families impacted by Sandy.

Group members reached out to one another via e-mail and phone after hearing about the various hardships their neighbors, and those outside their community, were facing, and decided to spearhead an effort to help those in need. The trio quickly created an email account and Facebook page, spreading the word about RepairRestoreRenew’s mission and gathering information about those within and outside their community who needed assistance. The group announced that it would accept various donations — cash, checks or gift cards. The group also set up a PayPal account for those who wanted to donate online.

Grech said that the group’s mission spread quickly, and RepairRestoreRenew’s page saw an influx of posts from across Long Island and New York state. Members also began to receive emails from many who were seeking help after their homes or property sustained damage from the storm.

“There wasn’t time to set up an organization — this is all based on trust,” Grech said. “We worked in an organized and quick way to raise money. Within 24 hours, we raised $2,000.”

To date, Grech said, the group has raised $12,000 and has helped a total of 20 families. Funds have been given directly to families, many of whom are waiting for Federal Emergency Management Agency and/or insurance relief.

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