A press conference Sunday, September 24, announcing the kickoff of a Bronx relief drive for people of the Caribbean islands devastated by recent hurricanes, was among several local relief efforts.
Councilman Andy King was joined by other elected officials, including Congressman Eliot Engel at Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church, 3757 White Plains Road, for the conference.
Donations of canned foods, gently worn clothing, flashlights, batteries, items for babies, first-aid supplies, blankets, and shoes were accepted.
That relief drive is sponsored by the New York CaribNews, according to Stephannia Cleaton, communications director for King.
In a related effort, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, Senator Jeff Klein, Congressman Joseph Crowley and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto organized a donation relief for Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands.
Items being collected include water, toiletries, flashlights, batteries, sanitary products, baby products, first aid kits, new blankets, new towels, canned goods.
Drop offs may occur until Friday, September 29, at the following locations:
• Gjonaj’s district office, 1126 Pelham Parkway South, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Gjonaj and Klein’s campaign office, 2018 Williamsbridge Road, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Klein’s district office, 1250 Waters Place, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Crowley’s Bronx district office, 3219 East Tremont Avenue 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Benedetto’s district office, 3602 E Tremont Avenue, Suite 201, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Sam Young Post — American Legion, 1530 Hutchinson River Parkway 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
A Bronx organization called Virgin Islands Freshwater Yankees Association Inc., operating out of Tracey Towers, 40 W. Mosholu Parkway South, plans a fundraiser on Thursday, October 19, at Eastwood Manor, 3371 Eastchester Road, according to Helen Newton, president.
Newton, a Tracey Towers resident, said management has allowed her to use the site for meetings and items being dropped off for packing boxes to go to the Virgin Islands.
Newton’s daughter has an arrangement with United Airlines to airlift the goods to the various locations. They have over 100 boxes that are ready to go.
Another Bronx group, Emergency Rights NYC, 337 East 138th Street, located between Willis and Alexander avenues, is collecting donations from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. through Saturday, September 30.
Emergency Rights volunteers have been collecting clothing, non-perishable food, diapers, formulas, medicines and first aid supplies for those affected by the hurricanes.
In addition, Council member Mark Levine, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York announced they would be sending 200 mobile power generators for distribution to community-based service organizations and urgently needed medicines, including tetanus vaccines and insulin.
The initial shipment of relief items was purchased by UJA to aid the hurricane ravaged islands of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and other parts of the Caribbean, according to Jake Sporn, communications director for Levine.
“The island of Puerto Rico is in dire need of help and I’m proud to stand side-by-side with my colleagues in government, the nonprofit community, and everyday New Yorkers who support us to help answer that call,” said Crespo, chairman of the Bronx Democratic Committee and SOMOS el Futuro.
Levine, chairman of the Council’s Jewish Caucus said, “The ties between the Jewish and Puerto Rican communities in New York have been deep for generations, and so the devastation on the island hits New Yorkers as if it were a member of our own family suffering.”
The destruction in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria has left the island without power and in desperate need of medical supplies and generators.
Goldstein said, “UJA and the New York Jewish Community are grateful to New York’s elected officials for their efforts to help the communities ravaged by the recent hurricanes.”
On the city level, Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito announced efforts the city is making to help with the recovery.
In addition to deploying 36 members of the Urban Search and Rescue New York Task Force 1 to Puerto Rico, the city is also deploying NYC Emergency Management employees with expertise in logistics, debris management, operations, and recovery to San Juan to assist in Puerto Rico’s Emergency Operations Center, according to a City Hall press release.
“We’ve deployed personnel and now we are stepping up to do more,” said de Blasio. “New York City stands with Puerto Rico and will do everything possible to help with recovery.”