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Sandy relief tents in Brooklyn could be shut down

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Sandy victims in Brooklyn are concerned as a Gerritsen Beach community relief tent could be forced to shut down for the winter. 

Gerritsen Beach residents are still reeling from the damage done by Superstorm Sandy. Now they're rallying to keep their neighborhood relief center open through the winter. 

"It means a lot to me because I've got a lot of things here and it really makes me believe there's hope in this community," said Teresa McLinden, a Gerrtisen Beach resident. 

More than 100 people turned out to show support for the Gerritsen Beach Cares Relief Center. Even 10 weeks after the storm, they're still busy every day, serving the immediate needs of about 200-300 residents and guiding them to relief resources. 

"We call it triage. Like figuring out who needs the most help and getting that proper help directly to them," said volunteer Kelly Mead. "Direct them to the proper resources. Every day we find new people who don't even know about rapid repairs or have signed up for FEMA or haven't had their home cleaned out." 

While volunteers collected signatures of support on a petition, a psychologist gave out survivor bears (teddy bears) and told the crowd about free mental health counseling. It's just one of many services offered. 

"It's a great resource for people who lost so much, to be able to come here and get the help they need," said resident Rachel McShane. 

Volunteers cleared out a tent Sunday donated by the fire department. It's being taken down because it cannot withstand winter weather. All the food was moved to a studier tent donated by the National Guard that can be winterized, one or two provided by the National Guard. The OEM spokesperson told Fox 5 there are no plans to shut down the site. But it's not clear yet if the state will allow the National Guard tents to stay. 

"We will survive. We will get through this but the reality is how much better everyone would be if everybody comes together, works together and helps each other," said Michael Taylor, Executive Director of the OEM. 

Organizers tell Fox 5 the petitions will go to city and state officials with the hope they'll convince them to keep the neighborhood relief center open and allow Gerritsen Beach residents to continue helping each other.

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