From the night hurricane Sandy struck, Aiman Youssef has followed a mission to help his community of Midland Beach, Staten Island. Despite losing his home, car, job, and all his possessions, Aiman chose to help his neighbors. He set up tables, soon becoming a full-fledged community hub where food, water, clothing, medical, hygiene, pet food and other donations were distributed. No matter how cold or hot, rainy or snowy, the Midland Avenue Neighborhood Relief Center, (MANR)as it came to be called, continues to this day, every day, to provide hot food, guidance on applying for help, supplies, referrals, even toy drives, school supplies and a neighborhood watch program, all solely through grass-roots support and networking with other Sandy relief volunteers.
Aiman's committment to the mission of helping his community was for one year, although he would like to continue. His tiny bungalow next door to the hub has now been demolished and winter, once again, is on its way. As a man of God, Aiman trusts in faith that the answer will come. He waits. He prays.
As we approach the one year anniversary of hurricane Sandy, my prayer, and the prayer of so many of us who've come to admire and respect Aiman, is that Habitat for Humanity will answer those prayers and build Aiman not only a house, but a home built from love and gratitude, for a man who made a committment... and kept it.