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How NHP Students Felt Opening Shelter Before Hurricane Irene

Here are their thoughts on taking part in this event.

Ten members of 's Red Cross club helped to prepare their school's gym to become an emergency shelter for those evacuating from .

Shannon Sunny, one of the co-presidents, called the experience "truly eye-opening."

"I have taken a class on Red Cross shelter operations but nothing compares to the real thing," she said. "From fixing up cots, setting up designated areas including health services and sleeping areas to moving supplies from the conex box, we all needed to problem solve and remain proactive. Myself and the other New Hyde Park volunteers stepped up to volunteer with the sole intention of helping our community ... And, it feels great knowing the shelter will be a comfort to many families who are being displaced by the storm."

Co-president Ishita Shah explained that initially the students set up slightly more than 100 cots in the gym but after three families came in shortly after set up, the group put in some additional beds just in case.

Vice President of the club Diane Choi said she appreciated the chance to be presented with situations she had never faced before.

"It was actually a terrific experience for me, and after I finished many jobs, especially in building the cots, I felt really accomplished and happy in being able to help out people in need," Choi said.

Volunteer Josh Johnikutty knew that his efforts were worthwhile once he saw one of the first families come through the door.

"When the shelter was finished, we saw the first family with two infants entering, that visual site alone showed us that our efforts were for all the worthwhile," he said. "Therefore, though the countless hours of sweat went into preparing the necessities for the shelter to function, knowing that you’ve done good to assist other members of your community reassures ourselves on the decision we took to help out."

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