NEW YORK – Hurricane Sandy hit Manhattan hard last week, completely demolishing some neighborhoods in and around the city. Thankfully, Morningside Heights was spared – and that luck was not lost on the Columbia men's basketball team.

At a time when most college basketball teams are spending countless hours in the gym and film room preparing for their opening weekend, Columbia is doing that and so much more. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Lions offered their resources, time, and services to those affected in Far Rockaway in Queens on November 6.

“We really wanted to do something after seeing the devastation caused by Sandy,” head coach Kyle Smith said. “Being able to see the damage caused in Far Rockaway first-hand was very humbling, but we were honored to be able to go out there and do our part.”

The day started with a trip to Target where Columbia purchased supplies such as batteries, flashlights, clothing, food, and other items that were recommended at a local volunteer information center. Then, the team made the trip over to Queens to donate supplies and food to Saint Francis de Sales Church, while the clothing went to the Rockaway Surf Club.

From there, the squad broke up into three groups and were assigned different houses to help clean out the wreckage of basements and garages of houses affected by the Superstorm.

“I am truly appreciative to have the opportunity to help out this area, which is in desperate need,” said senior guard Brian Barbour. “Members of the community were so happy to have any help that they could get. One woman named Mrs. McBride was so excited to have us helping her clear out her basement and garage. I think she is now Columbia men’s basketball’s biggest fan. Going there and helping out will be an experience I will never forget.”