A native New Yorker is helping people displaced by Sandy feel more at home.
Pam Koner, executive director and founder of the Family-to-Family charity, has begun a program in which donors can buy boxes filled with food items and send them to Sandy victims. The “Comforts of Home” boxes, which cost $62 each, come with ingredients and staples such as beans and pasta.
After the storm, Koner said she wanted to find a way for people to help the community rebuild.
“It’s linking a family or an individual who has more with a family or individual who has less,” Koner explained.
Alison Kase of Broad Channel received assistance from Family-to-Family. She said the program helped her get past the grief of losing everything.
“It helped you through the point of hopelessness,” she recounted. “It made you feel like there is someone out there who wants to help.”
The Family-to-Family program started about 10 years ago as a nationwide hunger relief program. Koner and her organization have visited disaster zones including New Orleans after Katrina and Joplin, Mississippi following the 2011 tornado.
The inspiration for creating the Comforts of Home boxes came when Koner and other Family-to-Family employees determined what they would miss if they were displaced from their homes.
“It would be the aromas and taste of home,” Koner said. “So, I started thinking about how I could help another family feel like they had their home.”
The boxes help recipient families keep up their sense of dignity, Koner said.
“Here, people have been so dependent on volunteers,” Koner said. “Now people are having these things delivered to them and there’s such dignity around that. We’re trying to make them feel great, and they are so grateful.”
The Comforts of Home boxes are available at www.family-to-family.org.
-BY ANTHONY O’REILLY
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