Hurricane Sandy's destruction has been wildly reported throughout the media, but what with so much attention on the power outages and flooding in largely populated areas like New York City, the smaller, more badly damaged communities are being overlooked. Joe Kerry, Glenn's Chief of Staff and President of Mercury One, has been overseeing the charity's disaster relief. Yesterday, he made the trip out to Coney Island to see what Mercury One could do to help the people in community get the aide they need and assist the local religious leaders in getting the town back on its feet.
Hurricane Sandy turned Coney Island into a disaster area -- it's decimated. Glenn explained that Mercury One found a church on Coney Island that is in the worst of it. Joe went to meet with the religious leaders on the island last night, what he found was shocking.
As the approached the pitch black island they saw at least a dozen police cars with flashing lights, generators, and big spotlights up -- the officers are stationed on almost every corner. There is no power on the island, so the church is pitch-black. They go in and find the leaders sitting around a table with candles lit.
The religious leaders explained all of the things that aren't being shown on television: the looting, the crime, 'it's collapsing into chaos,' they told Joe.
The local supermarket right down the street from where they were meeting was looted, the pharmacy was almost immediately overrun by thugs and they took all of the medicine.
"They said they have received several calls from members of the church who had boarded themselves in their own apartments and are afraid to come out because of these roving gangs of kids, which are now already being named 'wolf packs'," Glenn explained. "They're terrorizing the neighborhood."
Nobody is telling their story. The Red Cross hasn't come. FEMA hasn't come. Nobody is coming. And this is one of the hardest hit places in the Tri-State area.
Mercury One staffer Adam Blaylock described Joe's reaction to what he saw on Coney Island like this:
One of the things that stood out most to Kerry and those that were with him was the silence of the media. While meeting with members of the New York Christian Resource Center (NYCRC), Kerry learned that no one else had visited that Coney Island community to offer help – no relief organizations or emergency management organizations. They had been left to fend for themselves.
“I think people hear about the flooding of New York City and think of rich people with big homes,” Kerry said. “Yes, that has happened. And yes, they need our help, too. But this area was devastated. No food, no water. Roaming armed gangs. We heard sirens from the moment we arrived until we left. I could not believe how quickly the chaos started.”
Some of the church leaders Kerry met with had worked with Mercury One and Operation Blessing earlier this year during a food drive connected to the Restoring Love event on July 28th, where 14 tractor trailers of food were sent to communities across the nation, including one on Coney Island.
In a video message to Glenn, Jim Esposito of the NYCRC commented on Mercury One’s assistance with the food drive and expressed gratitude for the additional assistance after hurricane Sandy:
“You have no idea what you guys have brought to us today – the hope that’s descended here in Coney Island, Brooklyn and beyond. You were the first people to come to this community, to this church and to see what we need. And that’s God’s honest truth. They didn’t know where they were going to turn today. And I’m glad that you were there. Thank you so much, sir.”
You can watch Esposito's message here:
"It's remarkable what is going on," Glenn told listeners. "this is why I said last night that we don't know the full extent of this yet and it's going to be awhile. And we're going to get past politics before you really hear the full extent. But this is going to be ‑‑ it's going to be a long, long time before New Jersey gets back.
And when you start to hear the truth on what's really happening on the ground, I mean, there are parts of it that are just as bad as Katrina was, as far as looting ‑‑ it's just bad. It's just really bad. But for some reason, I think the press doesn't want to show this in a bad light for Barack Obama."
Glenn explained yesterday that they are raising money through Mercury One's disaster relief fund to help those in areas like Coney Island get the help they need. You can make a donation HERE to directly help those in need of disaster relief.
"Every dollar of that disaster relief, every dollar you donate goes directly to these communities," Glenn explained.
So far, 20 churches two truckloads of supplies -- about $100,000 worth.
"They don't know it yet, but they've got about another $150,000 coming towards them," Glenn shared.
The media likes to harp on the importance federal assistance and FEMA, but Glenn emphasized it's us -- neighbors helping neighbors -- that make the real difference. It's the churches that do it, but in this case, many of the churches are in need.
"We've made a commitment to Coney Island and this area and there are others that we're looking into now and we'll tell you in the next couple of days, but we've raised $232 ‑‑ $332,157 in the last two days, " Glenn said. "And I would ask that if you have any money that you would go online and would go to MercuryOne.com and you would donate to the disaster relief fund and help us raise a lot more than that to be able to get that money to these churches so they can help people who are right there on the front line and are, quite honestly, frightened, boarding themselves in their own homes and they feel terribly alone."
"Help us let them know you are not alone. Go to MercuryOne.com right now and donate to our disaster relief fund. Let's show the rest of America who we really are and our values."
Take a look at photos from Mercury One's meeting with the local religious leaders on Coney Island below:
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