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Volunteers Come All The Way From Texas To Help Storm-Battered Long Island

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island man who relocated to Texas has returned, with a truckload of donated help for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

As CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, Chris Mallon and Steve Debenport arrived on Long Island with a car loaded with canned food and caring from across the nation. They drove 30 hours from Fort Worth, Texas, in the donated rental car to bring supplies to storm-battered residents.

"I've got three children at home that I left, and they're nice and cozy in a warm home. I see a lot of children on the news that just are not comfortable, and they don't have food and water," Mallon said. "I felt the need. I had come here and to do something."

Mallon hails originally from Long Island. Images of his hometown underwater were unfathomable.

"It just breaking our hearts, you know. Our hearts are here on Long Island," Mallon said. "We moved from here 10 years ago, and to see that, we just couldn't believe the devastation of the storm."

They delivered the supplies to Island Harvest – the food bank for Long Island – which has morphed into relief distribution central. Trucks that normally deliver food to the hungry are now delivering over 1 million pounds of sandwiches, baby formula, diapers, bread and water to devastated communities.

"Peanut butter and jelly, turkey sandwiches, and water, juices - anything that they really use immediately to eat," said Nicole Koawleski of Island Harvest.

Donations poured in from all over the nation, and from close to home as well -- bakeries on Long Island donated pallets of bread, and volunteers helped to sort and send them out to firehouses and street corners in flooded neighborhoods.

The relief effort was overwhelming, and it is further hampered by the inability to get gas.

Island Harvest's 11 trucks have had donated diesel until now. But they need to go out every day to bring fresh supplies to hurting communities.

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