Before he was a New York Knick, Tyson Chandler was a player for the New Orleans Hornets soon after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Chandler says his experience after Katrina taught him the importance of a community's ability to come together after a natural disaster.
And so after Hurricane Sandy hit New york, Chandler and his wife Kimberly decided to act quickly.
Chandler spoke to HuffPost New York about his experience volunteering after the storm, and the relief work of "Rebound 4 Rockaway/Rebound for New York," an organization he and Kimberly founded together.
HuffPost: Where were you the night Sandy struck?
TC: I was at home with my wife and children.
HuffPost: You played for New Orleans not too long after Katrina hit. What kind of similarities do you see in the ways the two cities reacted to the storms?
TC: Both New York and New Orleans have communities that are trying to come together and help one another. However the response in New York was much quicker than in New Orleans. The devastation following Katrina was definitely a learning lesson for all of us.
HuffPost: How did you and your wife become involved in the Sandy relief effort? Specifically how did you partner up with Hillsong NYC and Action Community Center & Feed the Children?
TC: After Sandy hit, my wife and I saw pictures of the devastation following the hurricane in the news. We immediately wanted to find a way to assist those in need. We wanted to a part of the solution and brief relief to the victims. We belong to a fellowship at Hillsong NYC. They immediately went into the city of Far Rockaway following the storm and set up camp with their relief efforts. My wife and I decided to join them. We wanted to bring attention to the needs of this particular community through the media.
As far as Feed the Children goes, I have done several events with them in my hometown of Hanford, California. We reached out to them to do a drive at the action community center in Far Rockaway since we have established a relationship with them. It's a place where people in that community who have been affected know to go get necessities and see friendly faces.
HuffPost: What stories did you hear from Sandy victims? What did you talk to people about?
TC: I heard of a man who ended up having the boardwalk in his living room after the storm. I heard of another man who didn't evacuate because he didn't want to leave his elderly mother behind who lived in a nursing home. I also heard of people drowning in their homes because the water filled their apartments too quickly for them to escape.
I have been telling people to keep their heads up in the midst of their despair. I try not to talk to people as if they are victims but rather I want them to know they have the support of people outside of their community and we are all in this together.
HuffPost: How do you feel New York has dealt with the hurricane relief?
TC: I think the people of New York have done a pretty great job with coming together for Sandy relief. The one thing I learned about New York is that New Yorkers have pride in their city and it shines through in a tragic event such as this.
HuffPost: In the coming weeks, what do you say is the biggest challenge facing victims and how will the Rebound for Rockaway be lending a hand?
TC: I think the biggest challenge facing victims is the rebuilding process. They need to restore all that was taken and torn down by the stormy creating Rebound4Rockaway and the donation fund in its name, we hope to raise awareness and most importantly money. We ensure donors that 100 percent of the proceeds go into rebuilding communities in this area. You can make a donation by visiting TysonChandler.com. Additionally we have also set up a registry through Diapers.com where you can purchase the essential needs of those in needs. Log on here to buy items: http://bit.ly/RegisterToReBuild
HuffPost: Why is it important for players to give back?
TC: A lot of players come from lower income or poverty stricken situations and areas. We understand what is like to be the "have not." It is only right that when you "have," you give back.
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more