Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - It’s been more than two weeks since Superstorm Sandy devastated the New York and New Jersey areas, and thousands of volunteers are still on the ground helping victims in need.
The Red Cross has already served more than $5.1 million meals and snacks.
Shortly after the storm swept through the Tri-State area, volunteers from Central New York left for New York and New Jersey.
Meanwhile, the area’s residents were confronted by devastation.
“We have nothing left. We’re down to studs in our house. The floor is gone, the walls are gone. The water was up to my eyes. Literally, when you say water up to your eyeballs, that’s where the water was,” said New Jersey resident Marianne Murray.
For Murray, the Red Cross caseworkers were a welcome sight.
"But as we're throwing our memories on the curb, two men from the American Red Cross were walking up with a kit with paper towels and Purell and a flashlight and batteries and a first aid kit,” said Murray, who lived on Long Beach Island in New Jersey.
Red Cross caseworkers went to the hardest hit areas in New Jersey, delivering hot food, cleaning supplies, and comfort kits to help the people who were trying to rebuild their lives.
"So if they're going up and down these streets and they find that there's a lot of need for feeding because these folks don't have the time to go and all the businesses are closed we would push that info up to operations and let them know what the needs are here,” said Red Cross New Jersey Case Work Manager and Senior Manager for Emergency Services for CNY Rich Hajeris.
A Syracuse resident, Hajeris manages 70 caseworkers in New Jersey.
So far, the Red Cross has identified more than 42,000 homes inundated with water or sand in New Jersey. 970 homes were destroyed or sustained major damage.
As caseworkers gather information about which neighborhoods need the most help, they’re also letting people know what kind of aid is available.
Mobile feeding sites were set up to provide hot meals for the workers, as well as their families.
Such stations were how the Murrays received their first hot meal since returning home.
“When I heard the announcement on the loud speaker for the Red Cross truck that they had food and water and snacks.. We had just talked about how we can't even wash up, where are we going to go? And I said, ‘Oh my God, somebody hears us,'” said Marianne Murray.
After a hot meal and armed with cleaning supplies, Marianne and her husband, Howard, hope to reclaim their home.
“On the beach next summer, we're all going to celebrate that we're all still here. Happy again,” she said.
For more information on how to contribute to the Red Cross’ efforts, visit their website