So how did Mercury One President Joe Kerry’s recent efforts in Coney Island go? Well, according to Kerry, it was frightening, but there was also hope.
The storm had managed to transform the area into what looked like a war zone. Everything was pitch black, no lights around, no people around — like a scene from “I am Legend,” as Kerry put it.
When Kerry met with the religious that night, he was shocked. They told him about things we aren’t seeing on TV (i.e. lots of looting and crime).
“It’s collapsing into chaos,” they told Kerry.
A local supermarket had been looted, a local pharmacy had been ransacked, and then there were the gangs.
“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 Beck explained on his show this morning. “They’re terrorizing the neighborhood.”
Mercury One staffer Adam Blaylock describes Kerry’s reaction to Coney Island:
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.”
Here’s Esposito’s message:
“It’s remarkable what is going on,” Beck said on his show. “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,” he added.
Luckily though, bad press or not, Mercury One (through its disaster relief fund) is doing everything it can to help the people of this area.
“Every dollar of that disaster relief, every dollar you donate goes directly to these communities,” Beck explained.
So far, two truckloads of supplies have gone to 20 churches in that area (about $100,000).
“They don’t know it yet, but they’ve got about another $150,000 coming towards them,” Beck added.
Now we’ve heard a great deal about FEMA and the Red Cross (especially what the Red Cross is not interested in), but one can never stress enough the important role people and communities play in situations like this.
Indeed, even though organization such as the Red Cross have massive distribution networks, there’s only so much they can do. And even then, for someone like Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, the organization’s best efforts just aren’t going to cut it.
They are “an absolute disgrace,” Molinaro told a press conference Thursday morning, “Because the devastation in Staten Island, the lack of a response.”
You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they?
I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here … They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.
Which is to say, in situations like this, people need to help people.
“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, ” Beck 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,” he added.
“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,” Beck concluded.
As of this writing, there have been over 70 deaths caused by Superstorm Sandy and the utility ConEd announced on Friday that more than 400,000 New Yorkers may go without power beyond Saturday.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter