Hurricane Sandy barreled through New York on Oct. 29, flooding streets, destroying homes and leaving some 5.2 million people without electricity.
Barely over one month later, most businesses in the hardest hit areas still remain closed and those affected by the storm are still attempting to rebuild their lives. There is no holiday joy for these people. However, one real estate broker whose office was greatly damaged by Sandy is putting his own troubles aside to help those in need this holiday season.
Todd Yovino is the owner of Island Advantage Realty. His Nassau County Office is located in Island Park, one of the most devastated areas on Long Island. The community of nearly 3,500 homes was crushed by the storm with some neighborhoods flooded by up to eight feet of water.
“We just finished renovating the office less than 12 months ago with both furniture, technology and build out. I actually own the building and was excited to put down roots in the community and utilize this location to cover all of our clients’ needs in the Nassau and Queens marketplace,” Yovino told HousingWire.
After Sandy struck, Yovino visited the office he owns to discover all of the content in his office was gone and the structure was completely damaged. “We ended up losing everything,” Yovino said. “Everything was brand new and everything was just gone.”
But Yovino didn’t let this get him down. The realty office is one of the few companies up and running again after five weeks of rebuilding. “Although it doesn’t look glorious at this time, we are open and functional,” he said.
Yovino recognized that, while his office was able to rebuild quickly, many residents were still struggling to get back on their feet. He wanted to do something for the community that was so greatly affected by this storm, knowing this holiday season would be a difficult one.
“A lot of people aren’t going to be able to celebrate the holidays because of this devastation,” Yovino said. So Island Advantage Realty partnered with The Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York to get nearly 150 trees. But this wasn’t enough. Yovino reached out to his local Home Depot who said they would get 50 trees donated to each store in the community, resulting in another 350 trees.
From there, the help started pouring in. “We have the entire town engaged in this event,” Yovino said. Local restaurants and bakeries will provide pizza, cakes, cookies and donuts on Saturday, when Yovino and his team will deliver the trees that were donated from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Island Advantage Realty is proving that helping those in need really is the greatest gift. They are giving hundreds of families holiday joy they would otherwise not experience.