As I mentioned yesterday, this past weekend I traveled to New York for an amazing project with my friends at Better Home and Gardens. On June 6 Meredith (the company behind some of our favorite magazines such as Traditional Home, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and BHG) will join with Rebuilding Together to rebuild homes on Gerritsen Beach, one of the many NYC communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy this past October. Meredith is sponsoring the transformation of two community locations and three private homes
All of us who are involved in this important effort had the opportunity to visit three of the homes that will be repaired and rebuilt. I can’t even begin to describe the devastation that these folks endured. They lost not only the entire first floor (or more) of their homes but all the cherished memories that those spaces held.
The story that touched me the most was of a woman who lost custom cabinetry built by her late father. All that was salvageable was a small section of ceiling he had built. My heart went out to her. While some work has already begun, on June 6, I will head back to NYC for the actual build day. At that time I will join hundreds of people from Rebuilding Together, Meredith, and Lowes to install appliances, put in cabinets, paint, landscape, and so much more. One home will be specifically worked on by the Better Homes and Gardens team. The folks at Crate and Barrel have generously offered to furnish the home. How awesome is that? At the end of the day, these folks will finally be able to return to a normal life in a home that is both safe and beautiful
Two community locations are also included in the rebuild. The first is Kiddie Beach, a small beach area where families gather during the summer months. After the wrath of Sandy, homeowners feared this area would not reopen this season. The Vollies Memorial Hall will also see some improvements. This space is used to train the Community Emergency Response Team. Supplies are stored here in time of disaster and emergency. Even at-risk youth are trained at this hall to develop first responder skills and a sense of purpose in the community.
While this visit left me feeling deeply saddened about the loss that folks experienced,I was inspired by their courage to move forward. I’m not sure how I would find the strength after losing so much. I can’t tell you how excited I am to return in June to be a small piece of a very large puzzle and to help get these people back in their homes. I’m honored and humbled that BHG has invited me to participate and give back to a community that is so deserving.
For more information about this project and ways you can help, visit WeRebuild.com (this site will be live on Friday, May 24).