Nov. 13, 2012 By Christian Murray
Many Sunnyside and Woodside business owners and residents are coming together this Sunday at the Sunnyside Community Services Center to hold an event to raise funds for those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.
The event has been organized by a group of local volunteers who have come together through goodwill and happenstance. Some are bar owners, others musicians, while many others have signed on through a newly-created Facebook page—Sunnyside Cares—to lend a hand.
The event will be a combination of a Taste of Sunnyside, music fest (featuring 4-piece acoustic bands) and a children’s fair—featuring face painting and children’s music. There will also be some trivia contests for the adults.
More than a dozen restaurants are expected to participate, offering an array of samples. The following restaurants have already signed on: The Dog and Duck, Quaint, Murphy’s Bar, Bar 43, Aubergine Cafe, Claret Wine Bar, Tapenade, Ariyoshi Japanese Restaurant and Molly Blooms. Several restaurants will also be contributing gift certificates.
About four bands are expected to play between 4pm and 8pm, and in between breaks there will be children’s songs and activities.
Door admission will be $10—and attendees will be able to buy a bracelet for bar access ($10) and another for unlimited restaurant food ($10). There will also be a $15 bracelet that provides both bar access and unlimited food.
The event has come into being largely through the power of social media.
One of the main players behind the event is Mickey McCreesh, co-owner of Bar 43, who started a donation drive. Earlier this month, McCreesh posted the following Facebook entry:
“Hi Everyone Mickey here, how are you? …We have been watching the devastation from the hurricane all week and it’s just terrible. We are going to do a collection at the bar for Water, Clothes, Nappies, Canned foods (with the peel off tops), non-perishable items or anything you can spare….”
Simultaneously, Gina Rattan, a local resident, established a group called Sunnyside Cares on Facebook (which has about 300 likes) as a means of getting a volunteer group together to help the victims. She spoke to Padraigh Connolly, the owner of the Dog & Duck, who had started a collection drive—who told her about McCreesh.
“Mickey started with a big collection of stuff,” Rattan said, “while I started with the collection of people (volunteers).” On Saturday, she said, her group mobilized 50 volunteers to go to Bar 43 and help take goods to the Rockaways.
Rattan, by chance, bumped into Ty Sullivan, who hosts the Trivia night at Bar 43, and asked him to post a flier at Starbucks letting people know about the donation drive and Sunnyside Cares.
A day later, Sullivan then received a call from an old music friend who wanted to play a gig at a pub to raise funds for the hurricane victims. Sullivan sent a text message to Rattan suggesting a big event and then they all got working on it.
At that point, they spoke to the executives of Sunnyside Community Services Center who agreed to hold the benefit—despite the short notice.
Sullivan, one of the event’s organizers, has set an ambitious goal. “We aim to raise as much as $50,000.”
WHERE: Sunnyside Community Service Center (43-31 39th Street)
WHEN: Nov. 18th
Time: 4pm through 8 pm