Hand-in-hand! Volunteers work to pull Coney Island and Brighton Beach through catastrophe

Hand-in-hand! Volunteers work to pull Coney Island and Brighton Beach through catastrophe
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Thousands of volunteers poured into storm-battered Coney Island on Nov. 10 and put their sweat, muscle, and hearts into the relief effort.

The Parks Department had teams shoveling sand off of the Boardwalk and picking up trash on the beaches, while volunteers with the public-private partnership The Alliance for Coney Island helped residents and small business owners remove water-damaged furniture and interior walls.

The United Federation of Teachers gave out food, water, and clothes in MCU Park’s parking lot on Surf Avenue between W. 19th and W. 20th streets. Organizers said they were amazed at the number of people who came out to help.

“It’s really been a great turnout,” said Elijah Hutchinson, who helped coordinate volunteers for the newly formed Alliance — which includes Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, Luna Park, and Gargiulo’s Restaurant, as well as politicians. “It’s been wonderful to have so many people together, and being active in the community.”

Meanwhile, in Brighton Beach, staff at PS 253 — under the leadership of Principal Lisa Speroni, parent coordinator Gina Dacchille, and Parent-Teacher Association president Claudio Escoto — gathered hundreds of bags of clothing, toiletries, and other necessities to give away to impacted families. Dacchille said the model for the effort — which operated out of the school’s parking lot on Ocean View Avenue between Brighton Sixth and Brighton Seventh streets — was “working in the community, for the community.”

“Brighton Beach was hit hard, very hard, and it was of the utmost importance to assist our families in need. We had to do whatever we had to do to assist our community,” said Dacchille, who said at least 500 people picked up supplies at the event.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman