Tunnel to Towers 9/11 Charity Shifts to Hurricane Relief

By Sean Adams CBS New York

CBS New York – Most people probably know the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation for its 9/11-related charities, but superstorm Sandy has them extending their efforts.

“Frank Siller, the chairman of the foundation, the next morning immediately pivoted all our efforts to hurricane relief,” said volunteer and FDNY battalion chief John Labarbera. “We’ve reached out to over 15,000 people, whether it’s deliveries, ripping out their homes.”

So far, they’ve raised over $3 million.

They’ve set up a relief center in a vacant shopping plaza on Hylan Boulevard near Midland Avenue on Staten Island.

“We have clothing… all kinds of toiletries, bags,” Labarbera told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. “We have boots here. We have more water… There’s generators.”

There was tower of diapers six-feet-tall.

“Things come in every day from all over this great country,” he said.

There are palettes and palettes, practically enough for an army.

“People are starting to donate furniture… heaters,” he said.

Now they’re transitioning from triage to rebuilding.

They’re asking anybody who reads this and has access to sheetrock to please give the foundation a call at 718-987-1931.

Sometimes they deliver orders for those who lost their cars.

Lorenzo Amino came in for some mops and rags and walked out with bails [sic] of insulation.

“And just to think that organizations like this exist that would actually bring sheetrock, this is just very reassuring,” he said.

“I need volunteers, always need cleaning supplies. Never turn down food,” said relief center manager Joe Cardinale.

“if you’re a painter, you’re an electrician, you’re a plumber, you’re a carpenter, and you want to give a day of your time, call our foundation,” said Labarbera.

On September 11, firefighter Stephen Siller didn’t quit. With all of his gear, he ran through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel to the burning Twin Towers. His sacrifice motivates volunteers like Labarbera.

“This is going to be a long term operation,” he said. “The Siller foundation is going to be in it for the long haul.”

There are three foundation volunteer center locations in and near the city:

  • 2271 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island
  • 2648 Gerritsen Avenue, Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn
  • 735 West Broadway, Long Beach
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