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De La Mer Hosts Sandy Collection Despite Devastation

For Esther DiDonna, the owner of De La Mer Salon in Merrick, the last week has been nothing short of life-changing.

During Hurricane Irene, there was damage to the family’s backyard on Shore Drive in Merrick, but that was repaired. Seeing how they got through Irene, DiDonna and her family decided to try and ride Hurricane Sandy out from their home.

Everything was sandbagged and boarded up, but when one of the boards came off, problems arose.

“My kids were downstairs, and a little bit of water started coming in because one of the panels we put up broke off,” DiDonna said. “The force of all the debris blowing just busted in my whole doors.”

DiDonna, her husband, their two children and two friends were in the house when the debris and water started piling into the house, and they decided to jump into the car, along with the three dogs, and head for safety.

“It was a very traumatic experience for everyone,” she said. “The water filled up like the movie Titanic.”

Due to the treacherous conditions, the family was unable to get off of Shore Road, so they parked in an area where no trees were and were prepared to ride out the storm.

“Water started piling into the street, trees were coming down…it was just horrible,” she said.

Thankfully for them, Dr. Matt Pulewitz, and his wife Gina, spotted the DiDonnas in distress, and they took the six of them, as well as the three dogs, into their house to ride out the storm.

“These people opened the door and asked if they could help us,” she said. “The took us in, and honestly, they saved our lives.”

The family spent the night there and went to check on the condition of their home at daylight.

“We came home to complete devastation,” she said. “There’s a boat wedged into my wall.”

Despite losing her home, DiDonna said things could have been worse, as the worst part of the storm had yet to arrive when she and her family escaped harm. She was also thankful for the Good Samaritans that helped.

“I am calling them our angels,” she said. “They took us in, gave us clothes and we stayed there until daylight.”

Despite everything they’ve been through, DiDonna has organized a food and clothing drive at De La Mar for people to give to those in need. She also is offering the salon as a place for people to come and charge their electronics.

They are collecting warm clothes, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and non perishable food items. They are also offering free hair washing, hot showers, and coffee/tea/water.

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