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Staten Island's Cat Guarnieri A 'Holiday Hero' For Providing Food, Clothes For Sandy Victims

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As families around the Tri-State Area prepare for the holidays, one woman on Staten Island is making sure that victims of Hurricane Sandy are able to celebrate.

"The streets were still impassable, so we would load up little red wagons, kids in strollers and we would just go and we would take out food. First it was 200 meals, and then it was 600 meals," CBS 2 Holiday Hero Cat Guarnieri told reporter Cindy Hsu recently.

Guarnieri has been feeding victims of Hurricane Sandy since the storm hit. Nearly two months later, she and a group of volunteers called "The Yellow Team," are supplying more than 3,000 hot meals every day.

Guarnieri said initially she cooked the meals in her kitchen, but now local groups drop the food off at her home and she delivers it to those in need.

However, food is not the only thing that The Yellow Team has been supplying Sandy victims.

"Food, blankets, everything, socks, clothes for the kids," Rachel Alhadad said.

Alhadad's family lost everything during the storm. She told CBS 2 that Guarnieri has been like Santa Claus.

"She helped us more than anybody has. I mean there's people who would come once in a while and ask if you need anything, but she was here every day," Alhadad said.

In addition to preparing meals for Sandy's victims on Staten Island, Guarnieri, 25, has a husband and two daughters to take care of as well.

She said the feeling of responsibility to her neighbors is what keeps her going.

"Of course, there are days where you're like, 'why did you do this?' You have two kids; you have so much going on. But if we didn't do it, who would?" she said.

The fact that Guarnieri's spirit of helpfulness has spread throughout the community is evident by looking in her backyard, it is filled with supplies that have been donated by people who have heard about what she is doing.

"Everything over here is all family Christmas supplies, these are obviously mom presents, and child presents," she told CBS 2.

Cat has not taken a break since Sandy hit, and she and her team know that families will need help for years to come.

"We need funding, we need resources; we need organizations that have done this before, have dealt with this; we need counselors," explained Yellow Team member Corrine Daly.

Interested volunteers can reach Guarnieri and The Yellow Team At 1-855-SI-YELLO, or online at her Facebook page, their website, or through Disaster Dispatcher, an app for volunteers and victims.

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