Stepinac students & Teachers volunteer for Habitat in Humanity

Posted Saturday, April 28, 2007 by Lohud.com

Stepinac Crusaders Come thru to lend a helping hand

Volunteers toil on despite new rain

By LIZ SADLER AND REBECCA BAKER
THE JOURNAL NEWS


(Original publication: April 28, 2007)
MAMARONECK - Darlene Green raked debris yesterday from the rain-soaked sidewalk beside her house on Howard Avenue as cold rain pelted her back.

Inside, students from Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains were beginning to install drywall in her modest single-story home, which was soaked and later gutted from the April 15 storm.

"The rain is stopping them," Green said as the Mamaroneck River raged a few feet away. "They're doing the best that they can to help us out, but the rain is stopping them."

Volunteers worked through the downpour yesterday in two of the hardest-hit areas from the nor'easter, Howard Avenue in Mamaroneck and East Hartsdale Avenue in Greenburgh.

The new rain sent more than 3 inches of water into the basement of Big Top, a toy and stationery store at the bottom of East Hartsdale Avenue. The new water stopped repairs in the store, which lost more than $50,000 in merchandise and equipment in last week's flood.

"It's ridiculous," Big Top manager Rami Qarmout said. "We've got to figure out where it's coming from."

Big Top owner Munish Kapur, who brought in a water pump yesterday morning, said the new water also might delay the store's reopening.

"We were hoping (to open) this Tuesday, but it doesn't look like that now," he said.

The wet weather did not stop the 40 Stepinac students who participated yesterday in Habitat for Humanity of Westchester's relief effort in Mamaroneck, where the organization was helping to rebuild about a dozen homes on Howard Avenue.

The students were joined by a group of seven students from Enosburg Falls High School in Vermont who devoted their spring break to Habitat's flood-relief effort in Westchester.

"This is by far the worst I've seen. I thought we were going to come here, move a couple of things and call it a day," said Ryan Lynch, 16, a Stepinac junior. "I didn't expect anything like this."

Lynch pulled up carpet and hauled away radiators and a stove from a two-story home on Howard whose waterlogged wood frame was all that was left.

At nearby First Baptist Church, rows of pews were lined up on the muddy lawn, their red velvet cushions saturated. The Rev. James Taylor was still hoping to salvage the wooden pews, which had been wet since the nor'easter.

"We're going to try to repair them," he said. "If not, it's going to be $10,000 down the drain."

Green, who lost everything in the storm, said she was not letting the devastation get to her because her house needed a renovation and thorough housecleaning anyway.

"We've got to keep the faith and run the race," Green said.

Reach Liz Sadler at esadler@lohud.com or 914-694-3525.