Staten Island residents are determined to rebuild their lives - New York News

Staten Island residents are determined to rebuild

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Black Friday has most New Yorkers rushing out to get deals but for Hurricane Sandy victims, they're concentrating on putting their lives back together. 

Aiman Youssef said he wasn't concerned about finding Black Friday bargains. He's concerned about finding a place to live.  

"I think a lot of people didn't go out on Black Friday because it's a sad day, but instead came here to help the community," said Youssef. 

Youssef, like so many others on Staten Island, lost everything during Hurricane Sandy. His home along Midland Avenue will have to be torn down. Youssef has been sleeping under a tent outside his home amongst the piles of donated clothing.  

"Day-by-day we are trying to repair our lives. We don't care about Black Friday – we care about living," said Youssef.  

Youssef had a business he operated from home but he says his computers and records were wiped out during the storm. 

Now his work with the Midland Avenue Neighborhood Relief, the group he helped form after Sandy is a full time job. 

Day and night, he helps coordinate the volunteer effort while taking donations from people like Frank Romano, who skipped the mall today so he could help instead. 

"We can go to the mall any other time," said Romano. "There's always other days, there's nothing that special that going to do anything for anybody else."  

By Aiman's count, 4500 people came here Thursday to help out and serve Thanksgiving meals. 

Thankful, not for new TV's of DVD players – but for each other.

 

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