Congress needs to provide Sandy aid
To the Editor:
As Congress returns to Washington to confront the federal government’s significant fiscal challenges, the members of the House of Representatives cannot and must not ignore the critical needs still facing New York, and our entire region, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. President Obama has emphatically endorsed our region’s request for aid, and the Senate voted to move the package forward, with bipartisan support. It is now up to the House to come together in the same way that the Senate did and act.
Passing the Sandy aid package should not be a matter impacted, much less stalled, by the same partisan contention or parliamentary process that overshadowed the “fiscal cliff” talks. Our demonstrated need and the House’s past precedent should make this vote a slam-dunk. New York’s congressional delegation has done an outstanding job coming together in a bipartisan fashion to make the case for this aid, and I thank them for their efforts.
Twenty-four U.S. states were affected by Sandy. The storm killed at least 131 people in eight states, including 60 in New York, 35 in New Jersey and dozens in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina combined. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in our region, leading to billions of dollars in economic disruption and loss. As New Yorkers have bravely confronted the challenge of recovering and rebuilding, the work goes on, and they should not have to go it alone.
Every time there has been a storm or disaster even close to the size and scope of Sandy, regardless of the region of the country, the House has approved billions of dollars in supplemental aid — $290 billion in total since 1989 as part of 35 separate supplemental appropriations bills. North, south, east and west, the House has always acted and acted quickly –– except now.
I understand this is a lot of money, and these are tight fiscal times. But this was a big storm —the second most damaging storm in our nation’s history — and the needs are great and growing.
Congress must put politics aside for public need and progress. Partisan gridlock is the enemy of a functioning democracy, and the core of democracy is the people coming together to protect and support one another through their government.
The fact is that not only New Yorkers ask the members of the House to support us in times of crisis. The whole nation is now watching to see whether they will be able to count on the House, as they have so many times before, when their time of need comes again. This vote is a vote of confidence — confidence that Americans can count on the House to function when we need it most.
Governor of New York
Nonprofit inundated after Sandy
To the Editor:
Regarding Scott Brinton’s column “Saving the world, $10 at a time, part II” (Jan. 10-16): I am happy to hear that Brinton is back in his home –– all of it. I am still drying out, but am definitely on the mend.
After reading Brinton’s column, I was inspired to write a note about the nonprofit organization that I work with. Just before the storm, I was asked to be the executive director of the Long Beach Latino Civic Association. I agreed to a part-time position to oversee existing programs and develop future projects that would relate to our mission of environmental justice, civic participation and cultural awareness. My first day was Oct. 29. I have worked 60 hours a week since then!
We organized a task force and collaborated with many groups to host several events and programs to date:
Through the “Warm the Spirit” program, we organized a coat drive, served hot lunches, offered free clean-outs and helped storm victims register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
At Thanksgiving, we served 350 meals and gave out bags of food and cleaning products.
Through the Long Beach Holiday Toy Drive, we helped to organize and distribute toys.
Through the Adopt a Family Program, we matched families in need with families who wanted to give household cleaning products.
At the Three Kings Party, we offered refreshments, toys, and bags of food and cleaning
We have also shared our offices with other agencies in need of phones and computers. We have given All Hands Volunteers our office space to use as a base of operations. We have hosted the New York Legal Assistance Group on a bi-weekly basis. And we will hold a bilingual registration/appeal meeting on Jan. 17 at St. Mary of the Isle to help those who still need to register with FEMA.
As the new year begins, we see that there is so much need –– housing, employment, food and mental-health counseling. Since the storm, we have seen our client list quadruple. We would like to move our offices to a larger, ground-floor location. We would certainly appreciate any $10 donations we could get! Our website is www.lblatinocivic.org.
Executive director, Long Beach Latino Civic Association, Inc.
Feeding the Island’s neediest
To the Editor:
I read with great interest Scott Brinton’s column on contributing to nonprofit organizations, “Saving the world, $10 at a time, part II” (Jan. 10-16), and his inquiry about readers’ favorite groups. Thank you for this opportunity to share information about the INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network). Started in 1983 as a single soup kitchen, the INN now maintains 19 soup kitchens throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as emergency shelters and a long-term housing
For more than two years, I have volunteered in Hempstead at the Mary Brennan INN — the first and largest of this amazing organization’s endeavors. Our goal is to serve “hungry and homeless Long Islanders with dignity, respect and love.” I invite your readers to learn more at www.the-inn.org.