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Hundreds of Volunteers Help Areas Hit Hardest by Hurricane Sandy

By Joe Parziale | November 10, 2012 10:27am | Updated on November 10, 2012 4:45pm

NEW YORK — Hundreds of volunteers headed to the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy over the weekend, passing out food and water and cleaning up debris.

Buses delivered masses of volunteers to Staten Island, Coney Island, and the Rockaways, as well as in Staten Island and Brooklyn.

"A lot of people have been donating money and donating blood and donating goods," Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said Saturday. "This is just another opportunity for folks to go back out to these areas."

Food and water distribution and cleanup began Saturday morning at Miller Field, on New Dorp Lane, and the parking lot at Brighton 4th Street and Brighton Court.

In Queens, food and water handouts, clothing donations, and a kids' carnival were launched from the Beach 41st Street Community Center, 426 Beach 40th St., in Far Rockaway. One mass mobilization, organized by NYC Service and New York Cares, departed from City Hall just before 11 a.m. Saturday, shuttling volunteers across the city.

Mormon Helping Hands, another volunteer organization, coordinated volunteer efforts throughout the weekend at P.S. 114 in Rockaway Park.

More than 30 volunteers in orange shirts scrubbed sand off the boardwalk and threw out debris in Brighton Beach on Saturday morning.

"I think people have sort of a biological need to help," said Kristen Deyorio, a 27-year-old psychologist from Central Brooklyn, "They see other people working to clean up the area, and I think that kind of motivates them and boosts morale."

Martin Marczika, a 34-year-old teacher, was helping with relief efforts in Coney Island.

The Columbus, Ohio native said he has lived in New York for 11 years, but only got the chance to visit Coney Island for the first time in summer.

He hopes relief efforts can help restore the beloved recreation area.

"I'm glad I got the opportunity to enjoy it before the storm. I'm afraid it might not look the same for some time," he said. "But if everybody does their part, I think eventually we could get there."