A poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that after the storm in New York and New Jersey, friends, relatives and neighbors were cited the most often as the people who helped them make it through.Your friends and neighbors are with you for the long haul, maybe even life. Your government gets paid to help and leave, and hopefully take your vote. They have no personal investment, nor should they. We risk a lot by allowing the government to become our surrogate friends and families.
People overwhelmingly said the Oct. 29 storm brought out the best in their neighbors, who shared generators, food, water and other supplies. Far fewer said they found help from federal or state governments.
Stranded in her darkened 20th-floor apartment in Brooklyn's Coney Island with two small children, Irina Medvinskaya was feeling desperate in the bleak days after the storm. The elevators stopped working. The food in her refrigerator spoiled.
Without the help of friends and family — particularly her boyfriend, who lugged full water-cooler bottles up the stairs — she doesn't know how she would have survived.
"People who can bring you food and water, and walk up 20 floors?" she said. "That's family, not FEMA."