But, those families are getting help. Thousands of members of the LDS church cancelled their services Sunday and converged on the Far Rockaway community. They came by air, bus and train to lend a helping hand.
"We lost everything, but with people like you we know everything is going to be alright we have faith in god we're just so grateful thank you for everything you don't know how much it means to us," one New Yorker said about the group.
Another said the LDS members gave them much needed hope.
"You feel like giving up then you have someone standing there saying hey, let's go let's load this up and it's just like wow. You have a bunch of bodies show up and say what needs to get done," he said.
The efforts of these volunteers aren't going unnoticed.
"It’s impressive to see so many young people working so hard without a complaint. They're all action. There's not a lot of standing around they get right to work that's what I think we appreciate the most, they're not here to act like they're helping they're actually helping,” another member of the Far Rockaway community said.
That help isn't coming in just a physical form.
"The people are so friendly. They're helpful they're smiling, they're happy. They kind of make you feel good, which is a nice thing in this situation," another man said.
These church members said that's exactly what their faith is all about.
"It’s the gospel in action, right? I mean, it's what Christ taught and we're showing what we believe," he said.
The video was shot by filmmaker Joshua Brown. To see the whole thing, click here.