Save your energy. McDonald’s has already been looted.

The streets quickly went from damaged to destroyed.

Maggie and I took advantage of a Friday off to go out to the hard-hit area to volunteer. As we drove through The Rockaways, a beach community in Queens, we saw damaged homes, closed business and sand everywhere. Then we crossed a line where the region just looked destroyed. People were out and about, but wearing masks. Trash and debris was piled up in yards and on the streets. We met up with Team Rubicon to help with their efforts to clean up damaged homes.

We were asked to go inside a bus and help make phone calls to homeowners who requested help. Teams of volunteers were out in the community, but needed to know who was home to accept help on a Friday. Despite some software struggles, we made many phone calls and got some teams out to grateful residents, who needed wet sheetrock pulled out, debris cleared and more tasks done.

In between calls, we chatted with the AmeriCorps volunteers we were working with. Maggie and I are both originally from Minnesota and were coincidentally working with a group sent in from Minnesota. They told us they were staying at an old fire house with no heat. I’m kind of wishing I had invited them to stay at my apartment, but it is a long way from the beach where they were stationed.

Enough of my rambling. Here are images from our day in The Rockaways. I didn’t want to be that person who goes into a wrecked area to take pictures, but I felt better knowing I had at least helped out while I was there.

Please excuse the quality of some of them. I took them out the car window on the way out of town. Here are photos from my visit to The Rockaways pre-devastation.

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