On a sunny February afternoon in the Gerritson Beach section of Brooklyn, NY, the Vicar–General of the Antiochian Archdiocese The Very Rev. Thomas Zain and Mrs. Aida Nicolaou, a parish council member of St. Nicholas Cathedral , joined State Senator Martin Golden in one of the neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy. There, on behalf of His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, Fr. Thomas distributed $5000.00 worth of Home Depot gift cards to several families who sustained major damage to their homes and are trying to rebuild.
"Many people are still facing difficulties as they try to rebuild their homes and lives after the devastation wrought by Sandy last October, 2012," noted Fr. Tom. In addition to the financial distress and cold weather, many are facing bureaucracy from insurance companies, the government and private institutions. People in the community eventually requested help directly from Senator Golden, who has been working tirelessly as an advocate for his constituents, including the Gerritson Beach neighborhood.
Senator Golden thanked Fr. Thomas and Mrs. Nicolaou for the Archdiocese's support, as well as that of St. Nicholas Cathedral and St. Mary Church of Brooklyn. It was at St. Mary Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (also part of Senator Golden's district) that tens of thousands of hot meals were prepared for victims of Hurricane Sandy in the weeks that followed this disaster.
To date, more than $15,000 in gift cards have been distributed in Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey from the proceeds of the fund-raising drive. In the days and weeks to come, the Antiochian Archdiocese will continue to seek needy people and worthy organizations to distribute the rest of the collected funds, making sure they are directly distributed into the hands of people who need it most.