Christian Grotewold Part of NYC

Sandy: One Coffee. One Smile.

Hurricane Sandy was a real tragedy here on Staten Island. Homes were destroyed, lives were lost, and happiness was shattered. The hurricane struck the island on Monday night, destroying everything in its path. It was heartbreaking to wake up the next morning and see the disaster before our eyes, and to see the faces of the people whose homes are gone.

Sandy's Aftermath.

I spent my week at a friend's house here on Staten Island. We were lucky enough that nothing big happened to us except losing power for two and a half days, but that was nothing compared to what people are still dealing with. The family and I were in a state of panic—we did not know what to do in order to help those in need. We kept a close eye on the news and to possible things we could do. We waited for the chaos to calm down a little in order to make a decision on what to help with.

Coffee and cake for those in need.

Shocking as everything was, we needed to get ourselves together and be strong in order to extend a helping hand to those less fortunate. On Saturday, we decided to go out to South Beach and hand out coffee and cake to all those who did not have anything to eat and who needed something to stay warm. One of the neighbors of my friend, Jessica Kartalis, drove us around South Beach and we made stops to serve coffee and cut a slice of cake for those who needed it. As much as they needed people to help collect items from the destroyed houses, it was surprising to see how many people accepted the coffee with big smiles on their faces. Even though we were not offering physical help, we knew that this little gesture would turn their frowns upside-down. It felt good hearing those "thank you so much" and "bless your hearts." I actually felt my heart warm up.

On Sunday morning, one of my Theta Chi brothers, Sam Nathan, and I drove to Wagner High School and dropped off clothes, blankets, and food supplies. These people need all the help they can get, and never have I ever felt so determined to help a community. I am not even from the United States, and I am helping out because New York is my home now. I cannot bear the sight of seeing my city like this, so I am doing everything I can to help.

Sandy's aftermath.

New York is a strong city and it will resurface from this disaster even stronger than before.