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Amid Sandy's aftermath, acts of kindness abound

Nov. 1, 2012 at 1:40 PM ET

Superstorm Sandy brought terrible destruction to the East Coast, but it has also inspired acts of kindness large and small as communities help each other get back on their feet.

From people offering space in their homes via Twitter to a bit of corporate kindness from Whole Foods, which left free provisions outside its Tribeca location on Wednesday, those who survived Sandy continue to provide unexpected (and much-needed) relief to their neighbors.

When New York restaurant owner Edward Youkilis realized his downtown establishment’s food would quickly spoil without power, he decided to cook it up for passersby in need of a meal.

“We’ve been feeding the people working downtown — neighbors, tourists, anybody who’s walking by,” Youkilis told Jenna Bush Hager on TODAY. 

One New York City grocer began passing out soon-to-be-spoiled produce from his store. “It’s about taking care of people, especially when they are most in need,” he said.

And in Hoboken, New Jersey, where 20,000 homes were flooded and nearly 90 percent of residents remain without power, people from less affected streets have selflessly pitched in to help.

TODAY /
Families in Hoboken, New Jersey help out stranded neighbors by offering up their power strips and coffee pots.

Hoboken resident Teresa Howard sent an email out to her community, suggesting that they organize a “recharger morning.” Neighbors put out coffee pots and chargers on card tables outside their homes for those in need of a jolt of power — or caffeine.

On Facebook, TODAY.com asked for your stories about everyday citizens doing good in the wake of Sandy — and the comments keep pouring in. Many offered their own contact information for people in need of place to stay, while others told stories of their friends “paying it forward” by checking on the elderly and providing power to those in the dark.

When Norma Bado pointed out that Hoboken residents have “left long electrical outlets outside their homes so that many could charge their cellphones and cooked meals for the hungry,” 48 people “liked” her comment. Another 99 people "liked" one couple's invitation for people to stay at their motel in Hardwick, Vermont, free of charge.  

In some cases, a simple ring of the doorbell was all the kindness necessary to ease someone's mind. A TODAY producer shared the following story with Kathie Lee and Hoda: A woman stationed in Arizona couldn't reach her mother, who lives alone. She posted a Facebook request asking high school alumni living near her mom to check in with her if they could. A man she barely knew in high school, who is now a firefighter, saw the post and rang her mom's doorbell. Back on Facebook, he let the woman know he had found her mom, safe and sound. 

Even kids are doing what they can. Leona Maszgay shared a story of her 5-year-old's efforts on Facebook: "My daughter came home from school today and went through our pantry and said, 'Mommy people need our food. I'll carry it in my backpack on the bus to donate to those in need.'"

“I like to think of these as ‘deliberate’ acts of kindness,” Emogene Mitchell commented in the same thread.

And one New York City mom marveled to Jenna Bush Hager on TODAY, “It’s amazing the way this community comes together.”

More:

KLG: I wish NYC marathon ‘could wait one more week’

Sandy's aftermath: How you can help

For Sandy victims, resources to help get back on track

Meet the team who's 'unwatering' NYC tunnels

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