While it heals its own wounds from Superstorm Sandy, the Bronx is reaching out to help more devastated areas of the city.
Eastern stretches of the Bronx including Harding Park, Locust Point, Edgewater Park, Clason Point, City Island, and parts of Throggs Neck and the Pennyfield Avenue area suffered, but escaped the widespread devastation that decimated communities in Rockaway, Queens and Staten Island.
Shoreline communities there were leveled to the ground, with at least 40 deaths as Sandy proved to be a ravaging force.
Now elected officials and Bronxites are rolling up their sleeves to help.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Councilman Jimmy Vacca both organized a trip of 80 borough volunteers who brought supplies and manpower to storm-ravaged Staten Island on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
“I myself was blacked out for five days, and when I finally got my electricity back, I put the tv on, and I was devastated by what I saw,” said Vacca.
The relief effort sent people from his 13th district, and supplies, to the hardest hit areas.
“It was a very rewarding experience for the people we sent, and I think that people here in this neighborhood – we went through inconvenience and we have issues, no doubt – but in comparison we were lucky because the way the storm ended up hitting, the Bronx was spared,” said Vacca. “We are the kind of neighborhood where people come out in droves to help.”
Diaz also visited Staten Island on Monday, Nov. 12. “It was extremely heart wrenching to see firsthand the damage left by Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island,” he said. “It is a scene of immeasurable devastation, with homes completely destroyed, in addition to widespread flooding.
“I walked through areas where residents were still clearing debris and standing among ruins while putting on extra layers of clothes to battle the cold. This is the time where New Yorkers need to stand together to provide much needed support to one another.”
Diaz said the Bronx was the least hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy and urged the people of the borough to support Staten Island as brothers and sisters by volunteering their time or even making a small donation.
SHIP HOME FOR
At SUNY Maritime, the school’s training vessel Empire State VI has become home to Federal Emergency Management Agency workers, including doctors and nurses, members of urban search and rescue and K-9 teams.
Most of their relief work was mainly on Staten Island, said school spokeswoman Jane Bartnett.
“Despite its own damage and difficulties, the campus has become a beacon for hundreds of recovery workers and disaster response personnel,” said SUNY’s chancellor Nancy Zimpher, “opening its facilities on both land and sea to provide them with food, shelter, and safety.”
SUNY Maritime Admiral Wendi Carpenter said that she was proud that the school community was doing its part to aid during the Sandy cleanup.
AT BORO SHELTER
The Franklin’s Avenue Women’s Shelter has become home to 500 displaced families, many from Far Rockaway.
On Sunday, Nov. 11, Morrisania Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, The Salvation Army’s Major Foley, Peace Island Institute, the Bronx Pakistani community, as well as other elected officials and their representatives delivered some 500 hot meals, clothing, toiletries and blankets there.
“We want them to be as comfortable as possible with this crisis” said Stevenson.
The shelter normally houses about 200 women.
“Instead of feeding just the displaced, we will feed the entire shelter,” said Stevenson
Stevenson was joined by Congressman Jose Serrano, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Councilwoman Letitia James, and mayoral candidate William Thompson Jr.
Also in attendance were members of the Volunteers of America and New York Lawyers Legal Assistance Group.
PS 71 DRIVE
Margherita DiSalvo and Kendra Larson, fifth grade teachers at PS 71 at 3040 Roberts Avenue, are hosting a drive to collect cleaning supplies, school supplies, toiletries, medical supplies like bandages and gauze pads, and baby products for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Family and friends can bring supplies to the inner courtyard of the school from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17. The community is welcome to bring their own donations. No food on this drive.
Even though the island was pretty battered itself, the City Island Chamber of Commerce graciously donated $100 to the Red Cross to help with Sandy relief.
TEMP HOME AT
The APEX gym and athletic facility at the college was opened up during Superstorm Sandy, to become temporary home to about 200 people who had been evacuated from the Rockaways in Queens and other locations.
Many were still there as of Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Among those staying at Lehman College are residents of an assisted living facility in Rockaway.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393