After Sandy destroyed their church, St. Barnabas wasn’t sure they would ever get back on their feet.
“Whenever there was a disaster, we’re the ones people come to,” said Debra Pignatelli, St. Barnabas official. “We couldn’t help anyone, we were totally devastated ourselves.”
The church sustained roughly five feet of water and the majority of its infrastructure was damaged, as well as tables, chairs and other items used for the many meetings held at the site.
The Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, civic groups, Sunday school-goers and Alcoholics Anonymous were some of the groups that had to find alternative meeting places, as the church was holding a limited number of events.
But, after $150,000 in repairs, $75,000 of that in electrical work, Pignatelli said the church is back to operating at about 80 percent, barring a kitchen makeover. All of the money came from private donors.
After the tireless community effort, the church was rededicated earlier this month to the parish and to Howard Beach.
“If you had asked me two months after the storm if we would be here now, in this place, with what we have and what people have gifted us, I would have never believed it, honestly,” Pignatelli said. “It has been pretty miraculous how people have stepped up.”