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Babble Cares: Rockaways Edition

Last Friday was far from the average day in the office. Sixteen Babblers showed up at bright and early to work, but not on the website. Clad in boots, sweatshirts, and Disney Volunt-EARS shirts, we climbed on a bus to the Rockaways, Queens to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

When we arrived at the makeshift headquarters of Respond and Rebuild — an organization that connects local families in need with volunteers — we divided into three teams. Lindsay, Aaron, and Jill headed these teams, armed with experience from having volunteered before. We gathered supplies, suited up in masks and goggles, and set out to help those who need it most.

A month has passed since Sandy and so many are still displaced and disheartened. Weeks of saturation have led to dangerous mold growth, and it’s important that we act now to remove it. To be there on the ground and see just how much we were needed was beyond touching. Click through for pictures from Babble’s day volunteering in the Rockaways!


  • Sunny bus ride 1 of 25
    Sunny bus ride
    Wide-awake, alert, and enthusiastic Babblers on the early morning bus ride to the Rockaways!
  • Respond and Rebuild HQ 2 of 25
    Respond and Rebuild HQ
    Respond and Rebuild HQ is stocked with supplies -- and needs your help to keep it that way. The center has an Amazon registry where you can help purchase supplies they're in need of:
    See their Amazon registry here
  • Respond and Rebuild HQ 3 of 25
    Respond and Rebuild HQ
    Another shot of Respond and Rebuild's makeshift HQ. This spot was formerly a church.
  • Boot collection 4 of 25
    Boot collection
    Respond and Rebuild's boot stockpile for outfitting volunteers is quite impressive.
  • Jill’s team 5 of 25
    Jill's team
    Jill's team from left: Mindy, Caitlin, Jill, Dara, and Reece. Not pictured is Kelli (who managed to kick down a door by herself!)
  • Lindsay’s team 6 of 25
    Lindsay's team
    Lindsay's team poses at Respond and Rebuild HQ. From left: Ellie, Andrea R., Alie, and Lindsay. Not pictured: Karen.
  • Aaron’s team in front of Leon’s house 7 of 25
    Aaron's team in front of Leon's house
    Aaron's team poses in front of the house they worked on. From left: Jim, Jenn, Dana, Corinne, Aaron.
  • Aaron’s team take 2 — with Leon! 8 of 25
    Aaron's team take 2 -- with Leon!
    Respond and Rebuild puts volunteers directly in touch with those affected. Aaron's team stands with Leon, the owner of the damaged home they helped gut.
  • Generators 9 of 25
    Generators
    Dark basements without electricity call for generators.
  • Wheelbarrow of supplies 10 of 25
    Wheelbarrow of supplies
    Jenn and Dana pose with their team's wheelbarrow full of supplies -- sledgehammers, crowbars, brooms, and garbage bags galore.
  • Yes, that’s the water level 11 of 25
    Yes, that's the water level
    The red arrow marks how high the water level came up in this Rockaways basement. A basement completely filled with water leaves behind immense damage.
  • Mold galore 12 of 25
    Mold galore
    This photo captures just what Sandy victims are dealing with at this point in the game: mold. This photo shows what was underneath some drywall in a Sandy-damaged basement. This is why it's important to strip any water-logged materials completely.
  • Gutting basements 13 of 25
    Gutting basements
    Aaron and Lindsay's teams were stationed in basements where they were tasked with gutting anything besides the bare bones of the structure. In this picture, Dana removes water-logged boards that formerly supported dry wall.
  • Karen and Alie in masks 14 of 25
    Karen and Alie in masks
    Wearing masks was a necessity.
  • Check out our work gloves 15 of 25
    Check out our work gloves
    Corinne, Dana, and Jenn sport some snazzy work gloves.
  • Linday’s team plus equipment 16 of 25
    Linday's team plus equipment
    With generator and wheelbarrow in tow, Lindsay's team was certainly prepared for a day of heavy lifting. Ellie, Karen, Andrea R. and Lindsay stand in from of the pile they've gathered.
  • Reece at work 17 of 25
    Reece at work
    Reece, all decked out in protective gear, takes a crowbar to a locked door.
  • Unlivable homes 18 of 25
    Unlivable homes
    A month plus after the hurricane, many homes in the Rockaways are still unlivable.
  • A look at some of the rubble 19 of 25
    A look at some of the rubble
    Sopping insulation, drywall, and planks still litter the yard of this Rockaways home.
  • Reece hauling debris 20 of 25
    Reece hauling debris
    Reece adds to Jill's team's curbside heap.
  • Aaron’s team poses in front of some of the rubble 21 of 25
    Aaron's team poses in front of some of the rubble
    Midway through the day, Aaron's team posed in front of their growing collection of curbside rubble.
  • Jim and Jenn 22 of 25
    Jim and Jenn
    Jim looks a bit intimidating with that sledgehammer!
  • Jenn in the boiler room 23 of 25
    Jenn in the boiler room
    The basement Aaron's team was assigned to had a particularly damaged back room. The team worked to strip moldy boards plus clear out rubble.
  • Lindsay’s team’s basement 24 of 25
    Lindsay's team's basement
    Lindsay's team did a number on that basement!
  • Sunset on the ride home 25 of 25
    Sunset on the ride home
    The gorgeous sunset on the bus ride home was well-deserved.

How can you help? Sign up to volunteer with Respond and Rebuild. Can’t get there in person? You can donate supplies. Just go to their Amazon registry and send whatever you can!

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