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Patch, AOL Helps Stock Five Towns Center for Storm Victims

Storm-ravaged Long Island gets a much-needed infusion of supplies from residents of Virginia and the D.C. area.

Local employees of AOL and Patch joined dozens of volunteers already hard at work at the Five Towns Community Center Tuesday by unloading an 18-wheeler full of donations for storm victims.

The supplies came from fellow employees in the D.C. and Virginia area expressly for those hit by Sandy in New York and New Jersey.

Stacks of diapers, boxes of formula, packs of wipes and all kinds of food and other necessities were organized in sections of the center's large gymnasium.

Felipe Plaza helped direct boxes coming off the truck. Like so many others, taking action for others less fortunate seemed to help him gain a sense of control amid disaster. 

Still, the struggles of this community loomed large.

"There is a lot of pain," Plaza said. "Especially when it comes to small stuff...the sentimental value, the pictures that can never be replaced."

Unable—at least temporarily—to go to school, clusters of high school students sorted bags of clothes and joined in with the assembly line of boxed supplies.

Sonu Dhasmana and Danny Jimenez said their families were spared the worst of the storm but still did not have power.

"I feel really happy to help people who really need me," said Dhasmana, a 16-year-old Five Towns resident who is in the 11th grade.

Soon, Jimenez and Dhasmana were joined by Ketsia Charles, who is an assistant teacher with the Head Start program at the community center.

"I'm OK. I'm staying with a cousin," she said. She was more worried about her students, who range in age from 3-5 years old. 

"It's traumatic," Charles said. "They don't really understand what's wrong."

If you need supplies or can help storm victims, please contact the Five Towns Community Center at 270 Lawrence Ave., Inwood, (516) 239-6244.

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