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Power Out? Some Of The More Fortunate Are Helping Their Neighbors

Richard and Theresa Morris have turned their home into a community center as the effects of Hurricane Sandy linger

Some Huntington residents fortunate enough to get their power back quickly after last week’s storm responded with a sigh of relief and began going about their business.

And some of them responded by turning their homes into community center.

That’s what Richard and Theresa Morris did. Finding that they were among the first to get their electric back on Osage Dr in Huntington Station, they decided the neighborly thing to do would be to offer up their home as a place to power up cellphones, check emails and drop by to warm up or enjoy a hot meal.

“We’re providing a quiet room in my house for people to are tele-commuting,” said Rich on Saturday, just back from a trip to New Jersey to purchase tanks of gasoline for neighbors’ generators. “You just do what you can do. That’s how I grew up.”

“When I come in from work, I find people are in my kitchen making food,” said Theresa. “They’re so busy helping out, they don’t even lift their heads to say hi.”

“This has taken the sting out of the ordeal,” said Bob, a neighbor hard at work on his laptop. “To have this spirit of generosity is amazing.”

This isn’t the first time that the Morris family -- whose house is located on a block with underground wires -- has opened its doors to neighbors during a power outage. Last year during Hurricane Irene they found themselves in the same situation, and decided to do the neighborly thing.

It worked out so well last time they’re at it again. Friends, neighbors and fellow church members have all found in the Morris home a place for internet access, charging strips, morning coffee, showers, or just a place to hang around and warm up. “Someone charged their electric toothbrush on a strip this week,” said Rich with a smile.

A number of young people had a movie party one evening at the Morris’ too. “We’ve known their son Richie for years, through the after-school program together,” said 14-year old Megan. “There were eight or nine of us -- boys and girls, some of them out of school already,” added Amy, a 15-year old. “We watched Taken Two and White Chicks.”

A visit to the Morris house this Saturday revealed a busy and purposeful community center -- some adults cooking lunch in the kitchen, others working quietly in the dining room on computers, Richard and a colleague hauling plastic gas tanks out of their car, kids watching a basketball game.

“Everybody is pitching in,” says Rich. “They chip in for pizza. They help clean up. Someone brought their freezer over here and we’ve got power to it out in the shed. This is about everyone helping each other, as neighbors. That way we’ll get through this together.”

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