Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office led the way by announcing late last week that he would send household supplies to those parts of Queens and Brooklyn hardest hit by the storm. By Saturday, many residents were so eager to participate that his office ended up orchestrating a massive supply drive that saw the delivery of 50 car loads of items to those battered areas. Furthermore, about 400 Sunnyside and Woodside volunteers participated.
“With so many people being a part of this, I felt so good about our neighborhood,” said Van Bramer. He said it was an emotional experience being part of it.
When Van Bramer’s office opened on Saturday morning, several people were waiting outside with supplies. Furthermore, there were five vans that were prepared to go that just needed to be loaded.
Over the course of the day, Van Bramer’s group essentially took over a portion of Queens Boulevard that is adjacent to his 47-01 Queens Blvd office.
“People would see us on Queens Boulevard and ask us what we needed,” Van Bramer said. They would then go shopping at Costco and come back with items. Both of the front doors to the office building were open for much of the day.
“Waves and waves of people came” Van Bramer said.
City officials provided Van Bramer’s office with a list of sites to distribute the supplies. Some of the needy sought food; others clothes; while a smaller number needed the help of volunteers.
However, the best part of the day, Van Bramer said, was when he came back to the office at about 4:30 pm and two additional constituents were waiting for him and handed him even more supplies. This changed his plans for Sunday. What was scheduled to be a day off, became another supply run to the Rockaways.
Van Bramer’s office will be making more trips again this week. He said the greatest need is for food, water, blankets, garbage bags, work gloves, batteries, cell phone chargers and cleaning supplies
He requests that people with vehicles who are willing to drive call his office ahead of time. That way, a more coordinated effort would ensure vehicles would set out stocked with supplies.
Meanwhile, Mickey McCreesh, a co-owner of Bar 43 & Grill, started a supply drive on Saturday that has transported several carloads of supplies – such as food and other household items– to Brooklyn and the Rockaways.
As of yesterday, the pub had made about 10 car and van trips to the Rockaways after collecting water, clothes, diapers, canned foods and other non perishable items.
Residents have been dropping items off at the bar. McCreesh is aiming to take down more loads this week.
Meanwhile, a group called Sunnyside Cares emerged on Facebook on Saturday- and has already generated about 130 likes. It recommends that residents drop off items to Bar 43, The Dog and Duck and a private residence (see page).
Separately, the owner of Lenny’s Pizza on Greenpoint Ave. delivered 100 free pizzas to those in need in Staten Island.