Holiday Run for Relief – 12.16.12

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Photo Credit: Alex Hu

On Sunday, December 16th, 2012 a team of New York City area runners participated in an event to spread holiday cheer, toys and gift cards to residents in areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy.  The kick off of this event, the Holiday Run for Relief, was hosted by the Staten Island Yankees at Richmond County Bank Ballpark.

Residents of Staten Island have become familiar with the Sunday morning sight of ribbons of orange-clad runners pounding pavement and hitting the south shores to help out since Sandy. Sunday’s event was a follow-up to several post-Sandy relief efforts, which began after the cancellation of the New York City Marathon on November 4th, when a group of runners from New York and around the world redirected their energies and developed their own alternate plan to deliver aid and assist with Superstorm Sandy recovery.  They targeted Staten Island, traditionally home to the start of the legendary New York City Marathon race and whose southern shores were devastated by Sandy.  With the race cancelled, thousands of runners instead turned up at the Staten Island Ferry, wearing their distinctive orange marathon shirts and carrying backpacks filled with supplies for residents.  The group subsequently organized a few repeat visits and helped local residents and community groups with everything from cleaning out homes and demolishing drywall to stocking relief center shelves and helping build community databases.

Photo Credit: Alex Hu

Little Girl who received a teddy bear and gift cards from the Runners for Relief. Photo Credit: Alex Hu

The Holiday Run for Relief was designed to spread some goodwill and holiday cheer and to let citizens of some of the hardest-hit areas of Staten Island know they are not forgotten.  The event was a way to combine a love of running and fitness with a chance to provide aid to those in need.

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At 9 AM, more than a hundred hardy runners filed into Richmond County Bank Ballpark. The group sat behind home plate and Dr. Jordan Metzl, the lead organizer and nationally recognized Sports Medicine Physician at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery addressed the group. Jane Rogers, the President and General Manager of the Staten Island Yankees thanked the runners for their efforts with the Staten Island residents. The group was briefed on various destinations and volunteer opportunities for the day, which ranged from helping out with toy drives to manning relief centers.

After the National Anthem and getting pictures with Staten Island Yankees mascot, Scooter, the runners headed out at about 9:30 AM to distribute holiday cheer — in the form of stuffed toys and gift cards — to families in need.

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Jordan Metzl, Glenn Reicin, and Jane Rogers at Richmond County Bank Ballpark before the runners disperse on their Run For Relief routes. Photo Credit: Alex Hu

Jordan Metzl, Glenn Reicin, and Jane Rogers at Richmond County Bank Ballpark before the runners disperse on their Run For Relief routes. Photo Credit: Alex Hu

QUOTES

  • Dr. Jordan Metzl

We want people to know that we haven’t forgotten about the Staten Islanders and we want to keep helping as much as we can over the next weeks and months. Helping Staten Island is a true pleasure for us and we feel very connected to each person we meet. It is unbelievable to see the warmth, kindness and togetherness of Staten Island through these tough times.

  •  Jeanne Meyer, another group organizer:

“Runners are amazingly resilient types and are the sort who get out of bed, rain or shine to get outside and enjoy a good challenge.  The Holiday Run for Relief was extra special thanks to the warm welcome and send off provided by The Staten Island Yankees.  It’s a breathtaking view of New York Harbor, and it inspired us all to laugh off the chilly, rainy conditions and spend the rest of the morning delivering some good cheer and thousands of dollars in gift cards and toys to families who can really use a boost.  Going door to door, and to local toy drives and events gave us the opportunity to meet so many of the local heroes who are providing relief, and talk to local residents who are still suffering loss and the trauma of rebuilding.  Even though our contributions were relatively small this weekend, we do hope to continue reminding the rest of the world that the communities hit by the storm still need resources and support.

We all look forward to returning to Opening Day for the Staten Island Yankees vs. Brooklyn Cyclones game in June!”

“A lot of these kids were crying, saying they saw Santa there and they said ‘will he find our home?’ because a lot of them have been displaced,” said Jane Rogers, the president of the Staten Island Yankees.

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Photo Credit: Alex Hu

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Photo Credit: Alex Hu

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Photo Credit: Alex Hu

Jamie and Jordan Metzl running their route through Staten Island for their donation deliveries. Photo Credit: Alex Hu

Jamie and Jordan Metzl running their route through Staten Island for their donation deliveries. Photo Credit: Alex Hu

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