Power outages hobbled elevators across Jersey City, stranding the elderly and disabled as utility companies scrambled to restore power, making volunteer deliveries of food, water and blankets critical in those first days.
"Our first delivery was on the 17th floor," said the 31-year-old real estate agent.
Nine floors down, a wheelchair-bound woman named Vincencia Geiss braved the cold in her powerless apartment for about a week
"No heat. No hot water. Nothing," she said. "If I had to go down (the stairs), they'd have to carry me down. And I wasn't about to be carried."
The Barrow Mansion volunteers sent a nurse the following day. Though food supplies are a recurring concern.
"When we run out (of food), we go on Facebook and say 'We have an immediate need,' and within an hour we get food," said volunteer Yren Berry.
Last week, the group received a star-powered dose of support when members of the U.S. Women's Olympic Gymnastics team swung by to pitch in and donate supplies.
"Until you're actually here helping people find sweaters and pants ... you don't realize how big of a deal it is," said Nastia Liukin, a gold medalist in the 2008 Olympics.
Liukin -- who has more than 190,000 followers on Twitter -- then took to the micro-blogging site, asking people to send "canned food, bread and non perishable foods to 83 Wayne St" in Jersey City to support the relief effort.
"Hopefully if at least one of those followers came and donated that would do something," she said.
Larger organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross have also taken note.
"We are working closely with these volunteer agencies," said Alberto Pillot, a FEMA spokesman who encouraged residents to register online for disaster assistance and contact their insurance providers.
"But housing issues are going to be the problem in the long run," he said.
Faced with a lack of physical space for FEMA trailers and limited access to available rental apartments and hotels, the agency says it's now bent on making flood-soaked homes inhabitable as the winter weather moves in.
That "keep-'em-in-their-homes" strategy likely means that the man-power behind volunteer efforts will continue to be needed as temperatures drop.
Yet as national interest wanes and volunteers return to their own jobs and families, the resolve of relief efforts in places like Jersey City will likely be tested.
As of Tuesday, more than 18,000 homes were still in the dark across the region.