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Friday, August 22, 2014

Show of support for struggling city
(Page 3 of 4)
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.

“They don’t have heat themselves, no power, and lost stuff themselves but they’re still here,” she said. “People came here yesterday to help out and their whole block was decimated but they dropped off whatever they could. People are really pulling together and being community minded.”

“People seem to really be in good spirits … sadness, sorrow and disbelief, but nobody is complaining,” she added. “There are kids here 13- and 14-years-old and they’ve been without power for eight days and they were here until 5:30 p.m. schlepping food and never a complaint out of them. A lot of Long Beach kids are here and a lot are displaced. I’ve been displaced and we’re at my parents’ house.”

Ebert said that they are no longer accepting any more clothing except for hats, scarves and jackets.

“We need brand new and packaged underwear and socks,” she said.

The outpouring of support seemed to be coming from everywhere. Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the city for the third time on Tuesday, where he greeted volunteers distributing hot meals and coffee outside of Waldbaum’s.

Edward Melendez, a pastor from the Christian Fellowship Church in Hempstead, was among the 30 or so volunteers. He said that many residents affected by the storm do not speak English and volunteers are helping them translate.

“A lot of people need batteries, things to wash themselves and blankets for the cold weather,” he said. “We’re bringing food everyday. We’re doing one day in Rockaway and one day here. We have a lot of people in our church who lost everything.”

Free supplies and hot food were served at St. Mary’s Church earlier this week, where volunteers gave out donations provided by the companies Wave Riding Vehicles and Billabong, an effort that was organized by Skudin Surf and Unsound surf shop.

Verizon has set up a station at Kennedy Plaza where residents can charge their electronic devices, make free short phone calls and access the Internet.

Resident John Rugolsky, co-owner of Bahia Restaurant in the West End, was dropping off trays of food at Temple Zion last Saturday, where volunteers were cooking hot meals.

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