In Sandy's Wake President Obama To See Traffic Jam of Volunteers


Sandy Victims Don't Want To Leave Their Homes

Volunteers are clearly moved by the stoic determination of Belle Harbor.

"People are sleeping in gutted houses, huddled upstairs because their basements are still swamped," said one of church volunteers who keeps a list of needs. "But they don't want to leave."

So people like George Reuss, a 75-year-old Red Cross volunteer from Texas, sing so isolated residents get supper.

A professional singer, he drives through the neighborhoods in an emergency response vehicle belting out musical invitations to get food.

"I put a smile on their face," said Reuss, who has volunteered in every hurricane since Andrew in 1992. "If I don't … after I've fed them, I haven't done my job."

St. Francis was not the only church to open its doors. Irene Mejia, a 19-year-old college student, is volunteering at St. Mary's Star of the Sea, answering phones to coordinate their distributions.

"Church members are coming every day," she said. "I didn't think we were getting a lot of help, but these donations have opened my eyes."

Monsignor Brown from St. Francis is wary about what the coming weeks will hold.

"There are three stages in a disaster -- the event, the heroic period and the slow down when the government starts to leave and people get angry because they still need help," he said. "That is the period we are hitting now."

Osmin Ferran, wearing an Obama t-shirt, is thrilled with his FEMA check.

Though 41-year-old Osmin Ferran showed off his $2,940 check from FEMA that had just arrived, others have been anxious over the lack of federal response, angry voices that Obama may well hear.

As dark falls each night, utility trucks, ambulances, police cruisers and day trippers head out at a snail's pace on the traffic-jammed causeway back to civilization.

Those left behind stay huddled in their darkened and cold houses, awaiting yet another day that bring them closer to some sense of normalcy

"Commander" Gubernati is encouraging victims to wait it out patiently and the limitless supply of volunteers gives him hope.

"The government is overwhelmed and we can't afford to play the blame game," he said. "When we fix the problems, then we can figure out who's responsible. I don't want to feed the frustration."

For more information on how to volunteer in the Sandy relief effort, contact the American Red Cross, Greater New York Region.

ABC's Christina Lopez contributed to this report.

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