Aiman Youssef lost his home after Hurricane Sandy battered the southern shore of Staten Island. For many residents of Midland Beach and New Dorp Beach, Sandy’s storm surges inundated homes with salt water. Beach bungalows were ripped right off their foundations. In all, 23 Staten Island residents perished. And for many New Yorkers, Oct. 29, 2012 remains a day in infamy.
But it was Youssef’s act of solidarity that allowed him to cope with his piling losses: possessions that were destroyed and his Midland Beach home of 20 years no longer habitable. What started as a table set up outside what was left of his home on 481 Midland Avenue turned into “the hub.” Clothing and food donations came in troves and more than one year later, “the hub” remains a place for displaced residents to receive aid, counseling, meals, clothing and other resources.
From day one after the storm, “the hub” continues to be an invaluable resource that helps the community gradually return to some semblance of normalcy. A giant white tent erected over a raised plywood platform now stands as the heart of “the hub.” “The hub” has evolved into a mass distribution center as part of a growing network of volunteer organizations serving some of New York’s most storm-damaged areas.
Photographer Timothy Weisberg documented the humanitarian efforts of Youssef and the many residents still reeling from the storm’s aftermath.