Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Couple Helping Sandy Victims Worried They Will No Longer Be Able To Rent U-Haul

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TWC News: Couple Helping Sandy Victims Worried They Will No Longer Be Able To Rent U-Haul
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Earlier this week, NY1 told viewers about a Staten Island man who's been driving a rented U-Haul to storm-ravaged areas with his wife, offering demolition work for free. They are now worried they will not be able to continue their efforts because they say U-Haul will not allow them to rent the truck past early Monday morning. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

Volunteers in Midland Beach dropped off a barbecue and a cooler to help feed volunteers and residents Saturday.

The equipment is stored in a U-Haul, which a Staten Island couple has been renting for the last several weeks to help those who are working on the recovery effort from Hurricane Sandy.

"This has been tremendous," said Christine Alfano of Staten Island Strong: The Forgotten Borough. "He's cleaned out over a thousand houses, demo, cleanup. He's helped a lot of people."

Mike Hoffman and his wife, Anamaury Rentas, have been using the U-Haul to transport donated tools and supplies and cart them around where they're needed. Using social media to attract volunteers and donations, they've helped helped clean and gut about 1,000 homes for free.

NY1 contacted U-Haul about letting them keep the truck for a while, and the company said they can only have it until Monday morning.

The couple is concerned about where they will store the donated tools and supplies, which run the risk of being stolen. The chances of replacing them are slim.

"If we lose the thousands of dollars we have of tools, then we can't continue cleaning houses and doing demos because we won't have anything to do it with," Rentas said.

Rentas said she has been trying to get U-Haul to extend the rental agreement, as well as trying to get a break on the truck because it's being used for storm related purposes, but she said she's had no luck.

"We rely solely on volunteers, and it's hard for people to keep donating cash funds because we've already extended it twice," she said. "Between the last time and this time, and now, the one we just did, we're at, like, almost $700 to donate it. It's just getting hard for people to keep up, and U-Haul is not giving us a break."

U-Haul said it has experienced tremendous demand for equipment because of the storm and points out that most rental agreements are only 24 hours. A representative would only refer questions about a discount to its corporate office.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to make a donation to help fund a rental truck or volunteer to help with a clean up, you can email Mike Hoffman at

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