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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Show of support for struggling city
Relief and volunteer efforts are under way
Anthony Rifilato/Herald
Lucy Centeno gave out ready-to-eat meals to fellow residents waiting on line to file FEMA claims at the ice arena.

“Who wants food?” said Bernadette Riordan, as she carved turkey and served hot meals at the end of Louisiana Street last Saturday.

It was a brief respite for residents, including Riordan’s brother, Kevin McAdams, a retired firefighter, from the work of cleaning tons debris from their homes — on a sand hill no less.

“We’re out here every summer — we grew up coming to my aunt’s house on Tennessee Avenue, and my brother lives here,” Riordan said.

Riordan and her brother are Yonkers natives, and several businesses there did not hesitate to offer help. Rory Dolan’s, a well-known Irish bar and restaurant, Artuso’s Bakery and Gianna’s restaurant donated more than 30 trays of food and other items that Riordan and other volunteers delivered to Louisiana Street.

“We called up a couple of the restaurants and they were all willing to do it,” Riordan said. “I think a lot of Rory’s clientele comes here for summers or live here.

Hopefully things will get better here — everybody opens their doors up to us and it’s the least we can do.”

Riordan is among the thousands of volunteers and groups who are doing their part to help the city recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Last week, the Recreation Center’s ice arena on Magnolia Boulevard turned into ground zero for the city’s relief and donation efforts, after City Hall became overrun with donations.

Long lines stretched outside of the building on Tuesday, as residents waited to meet with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials and file claims. National Guard troops are also distributing ready-to-eat meals and water provided by FEMA throughout the city, including the Waldbaum’s Shopping Center.

Volunteers flitted about the ice arena’s rink, organizing items where players would normally sling hockey pucks. The ice was removed, and the arena has become a bustling place where volunteers organized huge piles of clothing and items stacked to the top of the bleachers, and helped residents who have come for everything from diapers to clothing. Roughly 1,500 volunteers have helped since the storm hit, Bob Piazza, the Recreation Department commissioner, and others said.

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