For people around the Three Village community, World Gym Setauket became a home-away-from-home after Hurricane Sandy hit in October when the management opened its doors to non-members for hot showers and charging stations for electronic devices.
Gina-Marie McNulty, manager and personnel director, said the gym had lost power for less than a day during the aftermath of the storm. Within days, McNulty said, the 89,000-square-foot gym saw as many as 500 people taking advantage of its amenities – both members and non-members – at the same time.
But for one Lindenhurst family, the gym fostered a new sense of home altogether.
Barbara Delli Carpini and her family lost nearly everything in the floodwaters of the "superstorm," and the gym held a daylong fundraiser in November to help her family recover. It raised more than $5,000 to help her family return to a normal life.
"We are a family who over the years has donated time, energy, and money to various organizations in our community and others across Long Island, so to be on the receiving end of a fundraiser is unusual, uncomfortable, and humbling," said Delli Carpini, who owns the cafeteria at the gym, in a thank-you letter. "As I struggled to put pride aside, the World Gym staff quickly put together this fundraiser and ... gave us a financial boost that will enable us to rebuild our lives more quickly."
Not only did Delli Carpini express her gratitude, but other members of the community lauded the gym's management for their generosity.
"Being without power for 3 days, World Gym became a motel of sorts for me and others who were without power for over a week," said Lily Zajc, a member. "I was so thrilled to have a hot shower there and power up my cell phone, without having to do it sitting in my car. I noticed other folks powering up their electronics, buying food in the café and just staying there with their families for warmth. It was such a generous, heartwarming gesture for a local gym to open its doors to the community."
McNulty said the storm really brought people together afterward.
"It was such an awful thing but it was really a shining moment for this community," she said.