November 3rd, 2012
12:02 AM ET

Blind student steps in to feed Sandy victims

MaryBeth Melendez's classmate who lives in New Dorp Beach in New York's Staten Island reached out for help after the storm left the area in shambles. Melendez cooked a meal and mobilized others from her school to bring food to the neighborhood. She says after that, the group became "command central" for people in need of clothes and something to eat.

"Because I'm blind, I want to tell you maybe God blessed me and I can't see the visuals because it hurts. It really hurts...so being here, it's overwhelming. So maybe the blessing is I can't see the broken houses, but I can see their broken hearts," Melendez tells Anderson Cooper.

After she appeared on AC360° Friday night, many felt inspired by her message. Her phone has been ringing non-stop with offers to pitch in at New Dorp Beach. She says volunteering is not only the right thing to do, but the human thing to do.

This isn't the first time she's dedicated herself to those in need; Melendez worked with victims of Hurricane Irene last year. "I'm not in this alone...we're in on this together," she says of the others who are helping in Staten Island, where at least 22 people died from the storm.

By her side is Trixie, her Seeing Eye Dog and a mental health therapist in training. "She's brought a lot of comfort and a lot of love to families at the shelter and to the kids there as well," says Melendez.

Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Herna

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story,very powerful statement indeed,Marybeth you are physicaly blind but you can see and you can feel/see all those broken heart,so many of us who can see but blind.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  2. Jill

    This story about the blind girl exemplifies the very best in people. What a remarkable person, a true hero, as were all her friends who helped as well. To dig in and help one's neighbor in need is the greatest form of love, and she shows us what we can all do if we set our mind to it.

    Thanks so much for sharing this story.

    November 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  3. Judy Somerby

    Any chance of reporting on areas other than NY or NJ hit by Sandy?

    November 3, 2012 at 10:48 am |