Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed up to greet the volunteers before they boarded yellow school buses going to Staten Island, the Rockaways and Coney Island.
One volunteer headed out to help was 25-year-old Andy Josuweit.
His home in Manhattan has power and heat, and it would be easy to keep the people suffering in remote flood-damaged neighborhoods "out of sight, out of mind." But Josuweit says he and his friends feel like they need to do something.
The volunteers planned to sort donated goods, go house to house to check up on residents, deliver supplies, and even clean up parks.
In the Rockaways, hundreds of representatives from community organizations and labor groups are taking part in the effort.
They will knock on every single door to check up on residents.
The goal is to assess their short-term and long-term needs, to help everyone make a full recovery.
The groups will be working with local leaders and agencies to bring whatever help is needed to the largely low-income community.
It was the first chance for thousands of Coney Islanders to have hot food in more than a week.
There were hundreds volunteers in Coney Island Saturday, among thousands elsewhere, giving their time to help storm victims.
The effort was organized by the New York and National Teachers Unions.
But with the clear signs of damage and suffering all around them, volunteers were hard at work, including some who had lost most of what they owned.
While Uncle Paul's Pizza, from Manhattan, served hot food along Neptune Avenue, volunteers carried food and supplies to homes in need.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said that seeing the effort in progress was enough to make him cry.
Volunteers said that they will continue as long as they are needed and it seems that they will be needed for days and weeks to come.
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