Lost Weekend’s Rockaway Relief Efforts [PHOTOS]

Posted on: November 6th, 2012 at 6:09 am by
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[Photo: Jeffery Jones]Once electricity was restored to the Lower East Side (most of it, anyway), it seemed everyone wanted to volunteer in some capacity. Droves of folks from the neighborhood and beyond appeared on the proverbial doorstep, awaiting orders. Local businesses ran – and continue to run – drives to collect food and goods for the less fortunate, most of whom are in the Rockaways and Staten Island.

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[Photo: Jeffery Jones]Lost Weekend at 45 Orchard Street organized a “Rockaway Relief Effort” over the last few days to support the battered beachfront community. Owner Michael Little filled us in on the details:

Since we spent so much of this past summer parking on people’s lawns and surfing 67th and 92nd, the impact of the storm was very  much local to us. We put it out to some people we knew in the LES and threw together a drive for donations. We collected canned goods, clothing, batteries, household goods and money at the shop on Saturday and Sunday.

We also co-hosted a half-marathon on Sunday with Orchard Street Runners and Nike Bridge Runners and collected donations of canned food from displaced marathon runners who’d come to NYC to run and were without venue when the Mayor cancelled the NYC Marathon.

Through OccupySandy and the NYC chapter of Surfrider we found a location accepting donations in the Rockaways. The outpouring of donations was overwhelming! People from all over the city came through this weekend to donate. People began posting pictures of the donations on Instagram and Twitter and the word spread.

We collected enough to fill four cars and one Sprinter van. People donated their cars for the effort, local residents showed up to help collect donations, to package what we collected. The support came from every angle in the community and was completely, overwhelmingly positive. I couldn’t closely guess the number of people who passed by and saw stacks of canned soup and offered to help. By the end of the first day we had run out of space to keep donations.

Yesterday 10 volunteers (Lost Weekend employees, friends, relatives, complete strangers) took what we’d collected to St. Francis de Sailes church at 129th and Rockaway Beach Blvd. We made coffee at the church from 9 am-1 pm for volunteers and people who’d been displaced by the storm and the others fanned out to help with the relief efforts – cleaning out houses ravaged by the storm, organizing donations, carrying boxes etc. etc.

The impact in Rockaway is severe. You can sense if from the first sign of piles of demolished houses the length of several football fields that come into view as you cross the Marine Parkway bridge. Houses completely washed away. Drifts of sand two feet high over Rockaway Beach blvd (three blocks inland from the beach). Overturned cars. Fences strewn with beach litter, twisted into licorice shapes. Lines and lines and lines of people still shell-shocked nearly a week since the storm hit.

We are collecting donations at the shop this week for the Lower East Side Girls Club for Girls Club families impacted by Sandy.

All photos in this post were shot by photographer Jeffery Jones.

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