On Long Island's southern shore, the piles of storm debris stretch for miles. In many communities, donations of food continue to provide a lifeline, but residents of the area say Hurricane Sandy has also helped them appreciate what's important in their lives
"I'm feeling thankful we've got power and food," McKinley Outlaw told us Tuesday in Wyandanch, New York. "So I am thankful that everybody's in one piece and healthy."
Bread of Life Fellowship Pastor Gail Brown was leading a food distribution event. "Even in my own personal family, my son has a home on the water and he was totally wiped out," she said. "Right now his family is staying at my house, and I think at a time like this, it's time for families to come together."
The Island Harvest Food bank that welcomed a shipment from western Virginia earlier this week is working overtime to meet the need. Workers there say Sandy left them with mixed emotions.
"I'm sad because all of the devastation that's happened," Migdalia Otero told us, "but happy that I've been a part of helping in the recovery.
And they say they aren't discouraged by the challenges ahead
Randi Shubin Dresner is President and CEO of Island Harvest. "Obviously I'm thankful for the fact that we made it through, and I had minimal damage," she told us, "but I'm also thankful for a community like Long Island..., because this is a community that has completely pulled together."
The damage was so widespread in the northeast, the recovery will not happen overnight. It will require months for many and years for some, but we also found optimism that conditions are improving, and life will eventually return to normal in areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.