BREEZY POINT, New York – We had a wonderful day with the residents of Breezy Point hosting a beautiful Christmas lunch featuring The Irish Tenors. We made an extra effort to create an elegant and joyful atmosphere as we setup round banquet tables with white linens and red overlays, beautiful fresh floral Christmas centerpieces, and bottles of sparkling grape juice.
When the residents walked in and saw their community center decorated so elegantly and heard the Christmas music playing, they were overwhelmed with emotion to see something so beautiful created just for them. There were many tears of joy as they entered the first community gathering since Superstorm Sandy hit.
It was like a family reunion as hundreds of residents were reuniting with their friends—tears, laughter, a roar of fellowship, and endless hugs filled the air. Their gratitude and appreciation was indescribable. “This is the first time I have seen many of my friend in months!” one person said. “I have not had a nice meal like this in over six weeks,” added another.
“Thank you, this gives us back the feel of Christmas,” one resident told us. “It has just been so hard, especially during the holidays.”
Our goal was to help these families forget about the grind and heartache of this painful disaster at least for a few hours. Every day is a struggle for them as they deal with insurance companies and rebuilding regulations, and do their best to scrape together the finances and strength to rebuild their homes. The mission for this luncheon was to help them celebrate, enjoy each other, and experience a little Christmas spirit “at home in Breezy,” as they affectionately call their ocean-side town.
Gutting and rebuilding homes are important, but we have also learned through the years that special events like this are just as important, if not more important, because it brings a sense of “normalcy” and serves as a catalyst of joy, hope and unity, which are critical to giving a community the strength to rebuild! It was more than beautiful.
With the enormous Irish heritage on Breezy Point, residents were blown away that The Irish Tenors would come and take time to visit the quaint coastal community of Breezy Point! The Tenors filled the room with lots of laughs, encouragement, and, in Irish fashion, a few jokes. The Tenors handed our autographed CDs, tickets to their Christmas concert, gifts for the children, and gift cards donated by families who decided they would use their Christmas money to help Breezy Point families.
With tears, smiles, and hugs it was hard to even walk through the crowd as they showered us all with thanks and the deepest genuine appreciation that a person could express. This is why we do what we do at Operation Blessing—to see lives changed and dramatically impacted by the love of Jesus Christ through our service.
The long days, extended travel, and grind is all worthwhile when you experience moments like this; it has strengthened our team. This community is truly precious and will remain in a special place in our hearts—always.