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Sandy Relief: Inspiring Stories of Locals Leading the Way

A Lewisboro fourth grader, a Cross River resident and native of Far Rockaway and local business owners are among those coordinating supply drives to areas affected by the storm.

Thanks to the various groups and individuals who are sharing information on their Sandy relief efforts with Patch. If you are organizing a trip or drive please post it at bedford.patch.com/announcements and email me at lisab@patch.com.

Last week, Noka Joe's coordinated a supply drive for Sandy victims, Ebba donated proceeds from a store event to hurricane relief, Bueti's Deli in Bedford Hills made 2,000 sandwiches for storm victims  and local farm markets became a drop-off site for supplies going to Long Island, Queens and other battered areas.

And a Cross River resident and Far Rockaway native began a small effort to collect supplies for her hometown that has grown into a big operation.

Ali Giglio didn't know what would happen when she sent a few emails out to her friends saying her friends in her hometown of Far Rockaway were suffering. She asked that if anyone wanted to donate supplies, they could drop them off to her and she'd coordinate the delivery to Queens.

By the end of last week, her basement was full of donations from hundreds of locals that filled a 27-foot truck. So many people have come forward to volunteer that she planned to host a meeting Wednesday night to organize into sub-committees and explore obtaining 501 (c)3 nonprofit status to maintain the organization moving forward.

"It's much bigger than I expected it to be and it's touching," said Giglio, emotional and overwhelmed over the response from the local community. Giglio been working from 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. coordinating supplies, communications and transportation. She said she hopes to bring on local churches and synogogues as drop off and sorting places.

"We're getting organized," she said, noting that she views the work as supplemental to formal relief efforts through such organizations as the Red Cross. She said locals were not always able to get to larger distribution sites and efforts like hers were getting needed supplies directly to victims who were hardest-hit.

Email Giglio for more information on what's needed and how to donate.

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Read on for some more inspiring stories and ways you can help:

Lewisboro Fourth-Grader Requests Donations, Not Gifts at Birthday Party

Jack O'Reilly's birthday party was cancelled due to superstorm Sandy. Instead of complaining about his missed celebration, he decided to reschedule and find a way to help children who were victims of the storm.

O'Reilly, a fourth-grader at decided to expand his invitation to all fourth-graders in Lewisboro—but not so he could collect more gifts.

He's asking that each child bring a backpack with school supplies to his party, for donating to children that may have lost their own in the storm. The delayed party has been rescheduled for Sunday, November 18 at the Lewisboro Town Park at 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Hot chocolate and donuts will be served. The backpacks will be collected and delivered to an appropriate Hurricane Relief Center on behalf of “Lewisboro Fourth Graders.”

Farmer's Market Collects for Relief

Two northern Westchester Farmer's Markets will be collecting donations this Saturday from 9-1 at Gossett's Winter Farmer's Market, 1202 Rte 35 in South Salem, and the Mt. Kisco Winter Farmer's Market at St. Mark's Church, 85 East Main Street in Mt. Kisco.  

Supplies will be gathered at Thornwood Self Storage, which is also accepting supplies to go to relief efforts. (M-F 9-6, S/S 10-5) Supplies will be delivered to locations designated by the Occupy Sandy and Rockaway Emergency efforts.

Katonah’s Hair Wharf Runs Successful Donation Drive to Rockaway Park

After observing the devastation in Rockaway during an impromptu trip to deliver clothing and blankets to people in need on Nov. 4, Katonah’s Hair Wharf stylist Nicole DeMaria was inspired to organize a bigger relief effort and return with even more help for Superstorm Sandy victims on Nov. 11.

Hair Wharf owner Carol Gattucci agreed to allow her business to be used as a donation drop off spot and for DeMaria to send an email asking clients who were interested in donating to drop off items all week long.

Throughout the week Hair Wharf clients came by with dozens of the needed items on DeMaria’s list: baby wipes, diapers, shovels, garbage bags, flashlights, and much more. Others generously donated money out of their pockets to go towards purchasing additional home cleaning items.

By Saturday night the Hair Wharf had collected a pick-up truck’s worth of needed items and more than $600, which was spent on additional items for Rockaway at Target.

On Sunday, DeMaria and her family, father Frank, mother Gerry and sister Katie, all Yorktown residents, filled up Frank’s truck used for his Bronx-based glass making business, Zecca, and spent their whole day Sunday delivering the donations to people cleaning out their houses in Rockaway near Belle Harbor.

They also delivered four large trays of chili, donated by the Wooden Nickel Deli in Katonah, to people who were tired and hungry with no means of getting a hot meal.

The DeMarias first went to 130th Street and Rockaway Beach Blvd. and found neighbors gutting their basements and cleaning their homes. The night Sandy arrived the water level rose more quickly than anyone had prepared for, neighbors said. A few blocks from where the DeMaria’s handed out shovels and other cleaning supplies, 19 houses were completely burned to the ground.

They met a resident from 140th street and Rockaway Beach Blvd. who was turning her home, still powerless, into a makeshift distribution spot for neighbors. The DeMarias dropped the rest of their supplies off there, where the Red Cross was also set up with a table of supplies, where another group of volunteers set up a large pot to cook the 25 pounds of chicken they brought for the residents.  

The Gym of Armonk

THE GYM of Armonk is holding a drive for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. All donated items will be collected by the Food Bank for Westchester and distributed to victims who are in need.

November 12, 2012 through November 25. Click here for details on supplies needed and drop off times.

In addition to local efforts, regional organizations are coordinating relief to storm victims. Through the Volunteer Center in Westchester, you can donate clothing, food and time to help storm victims.


Michele duRivage November 15, 2012 at 07:45 PM
What about children's warm clothing?
Lisa Buchman November 15, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Michele, I know Ali is accepting kids' clothes, and you can also donate to the Community Center, which has an ongoing drive for those in need: http://communitycenternw.org/event/share-warmth-holiday-clothing-drive
phyllis sattler November 16, 2012 at 06:48 AM
I attend Grad school with several friends who live on Staten Island so the three of us have a system going where I collect donations in my area,then I bring them to either Francine or Tamara. The latest first hand information as of this week is that Staten Island-Midland beach area needs new clothes,not used anymore,diapers,chapstick,baby items such as diapers and food,blankets and Contractor sized garbage bags. Warm clothes ( coats,hats) are more needed in Brooklyn. They seem to have a lot of water but they also need cleaning supplies: bleach,brooms,mops and gloves. There has been such an outpouring from friends in the area that filled my house,my car and my back building. Not to mention Mel's school lunchroom. This really restored my faith in humanity. In times of disaster people really want to help and they come through. It's amazing.
Lisa Buchman November 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Thanks Phyllis, that is great to hear.
Lisa Buchman November 16, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Here's another from Laurie Cancellierii: We in Westchester know how difficult it is to be without power after storms. The people of the Rockaways are without power, water, infrastructure, homes, and will remain so for a very long time. There is now danger of hyperthermia with the weather cold and no heat. This super critical mission to deliver body warmers this Saturday in the Rockaways is a wonderful way to help and make a huge impact.. Hyperthermia is a real threat and you and yours can save lives. They are asking for 100 teams of a car and driver, 2 more volunteers and a smart phone. Check the link below to sign up and/or learn more. Please share the link as well! www.warmingrockaways.com

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