STAT, Tyson lend a hand in Far Rockaway

Tyson Chandler handed out food in Far Rockaway to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Oleg Voss

The big debate surrounding Amar'e Stoudemire right now is whether he should come off of the bench or remain in the starting five once he returns to the court.

Regardless of where you fall in this debate or whether you think the Knicks are better or worse with a healthy Stoudemire (they're better, by the way), you have to give the Knicks big man credit for what he did on Saturday.

Stoudemire spent time with residents affected by Hurricane Sandy in Far Rockaway, Queens, on Saturday afternoon. He hung out at a donation area on Mott Avenue, trying to provide momentary relief for those dealing with dire conditions in the aftermath of the hurricane.

"I just said for them to keep their head up and I hope things get better for them. It was funny. One girl actually said that I should keep my head up and feel better soon," Stoudemire, who hasn't spoken with the media since Oct. 19 when he played in his lone preseason game, said in a statement provided by his publicist. "I couldn't believe with all of the loss someone experiences, she was thinking about the Knicks and my knee."

Stoudemire wasn't the only Knick helping out in Far Rockaway. Rasheed Wallace and Ronnie Brewer were also there.

Tyson Chandler and his wife, Kimberly, handed out food in Far Rockaway in a food truck on 57th street and Beach Channel Avenue for a half hour on Sunday.

"He was so gracious and cool," said Oleg Voss, the owner of the Schnitzel & Things food truck. "People really appreciated it."

For video of Chandler and his wife's day in Far Rockaway, click here.

Stoudemire, out until at least mid December following knee surgery, was among 500 volunteers handing out food, clothes and other items to more than 1,000 Far Rockaway residents on Saturday.

"He was generous with both his time and his energy," said Reshma Saujani, the former Public Advocate for New York City, who helped organize the event, along with Hope Taitz from Pencils of Promise and Donavan Richards from City Councilman James Sanders' office.

"He didn't just come show up and leave -- he walked the crowd, talked to people spent an enormous amount of time with residents to people and find out what they are going through."

What was Stoudemire's main message to Far Rockaway residents?

"New Yorkers persevere," he said.

Stoudemire will also appear in Governor Cuomo's Empire State Relief Fund public service announcement. The fund was created by the governor to distribute money to help rebuild homes or provide long-term housing to those affected by the storm.

"The whole area was devastated by Sandy and I wanted to help out the best I could," Stoudemire said.

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