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Sandy families get more relief from Robertson

NEW YORK -- Under clear blue skies on Tuesday, the destruction Hurricane Sandy wrought in the Rockaways seemed like a distant memory. But those who had their homes destroyed or severely damaged are continuing to face remnants of the devastation every day.

Through the High Socks for Hope Foundation, Yankees pitcher David Robertson and his wife, Erin, are helping to ease the burden that residents are still enduring.

"What we've tried to do over the past few years is raise a lot of money, be able to come in and either help bring up houses or furnish houses, try to get people back into their normal routine," David Robertson said. "We're doing everything we can."

The Robertsons were in Far Rockaway, Queens, on Tuesday to help deliver furniture to four families whose homes suffered devastation from Hurricane Sandy in late October. High Socks for Hope partnered with NBTY Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization that donated $20,000 to purchase the furniture, to help the families return to a degree of normalcy.

Erin said the donation allowed High Socks for Hope to furnish about 15 families in the area. Some of them lost everything and needed their homes to be completely refurnished, while others only needed pieces of furniture.

The Robertsons created their foundation in April 2011 after tornadoes ravaged David's hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala. As the rebuilding process continues there, the Robertsons wanted to help New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy.

They looked at the areas hit by the storm and pinpointed the Rockaways to be an area that needed ample assistance.

While the costs to rebuild mounted, the attention dwindled.

"The Rockaways really, from what we saw, they weren't getting a ton of attention," Erin said. "But then to come here and see the devastation that was here, we knew we wanted to do whatever we can to help."

The four families assisted on Tuesday were welcomed back to their newly furnished homes with signs draped across each of their houses.

The Robertsons posed for pictures with the families, and David signed some autographs. They also gave some Yankees-themed decorations to a family that's a fan of Robertson and the team.

NBTY Helping Hands was started by NBTY Inc., which manufactures and distributes nutritional supplements. The organization looks for charities like High Socks for Hope to team up with.

"We felt it was a perfect vehicle to partner with Helping Hands and High Socks for Hope, and help these people get on with their lives," chairman Michael Oliveri said. "They've been devastated for the past seven months."

Erin said that during the aftermath of the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, many New Yorkers helped out in a variety of ways. Now, there are residents from Tuscaloosa returning the assistance, and many of them were present on Tuesday.

In a span of just over two years, High Socks for Hope has helped residents of Tuscaloosa, New York and is now beginning to assist those in Moore, Okla., who lost their homes after the recent tornadoes.

High Socks for Hope is continuing to raise money through foundations, events and sponsorships to go toward assisting more families afflicted from natural disasters.

On Tuesday, some of the victims of Hurricane Sandy had reconstructed homes filled with some new furniture. Possibly for the first time in seven months, they had something to smile about.

That's exactly the mission of High Socks for Hope.

"There's always going to be someone, somewhere that needs it," Erin said. "That's what we try to do."

Chris Iseman is an associate reporter from MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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