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A Rockaway event: Blessing those in need

Trudy Tomlinson Special to the AmNews | 5/23/2013, 3:43 p.m.
A Rockaway event: Blessing those in need

Hundreds of Hurricane Sandy victims lined up on May 4 in Far Rockaway to receive free items from different companies for a pre-Mother's Day Hurricane Sandy rebuilding event. The community-wide event, which took place at the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center in Far Rockaway, was organized by Greater Bethel Community Development Corporation. They partnered with the New York chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement and the NYPD to distribute free household items, toys, toiletries and clothing to 1,000 individuals who were affected by Sandy.

"Today we come together to encourage the women of our community," said one speaker to the crowd, which ranged in age from young to old. Participants were all provided huge, clear bags so that they could receive items they needed to make their families' lives a little easier financially. People of the community were able to receive free tickets to the event from any of the four health centers located in Queens and Far Rockaway.

They were provided with home furnishing items and household items from Bed, Bath and Beyond; new clothing and baby products from Buy Buy Baby, Gap and Baby Gap; and toys from Disney, Mattel and more. Budget Truck Rentals also provided free trucks to transport the merchandise to and from the site.

"I lost my car and didn't have water and electricity for weeks," said Ellen Bueno, 46, a Far Rockaway resident. "It was hard. FEMA didn't give me any money so my car was a complete lost. This event will definitely help me out financially."

Greater Bethel Community Development Corporation continues to provide greater access to quality products and services for families who are homeless and/or are enduring financially challenging times. "We try to get to the most disadvantaged areas, whether disadvantaged by the community or by Hurricane Sandy," said Executive Director Dr. Maria Hubbard. "Not a lot of people are servicing these areas, so we try and get together for large outreach programs such as this.

"All these companies jumped on board when told who these items would benefit," added Hubbard. "I recently organized an event at the Addabbo Center, so when I came back to speak to them about having this event, they were all for it."

The event took place from 2 to 4 p.m. "I thought the event was wonderful," said Johanna Tavares, 32, mother of three, who was also affected by Sandy. "It gave me a sense of comfort and security to know that there are still people out there who still care and acknowledge that the Rockaways are still in need of help."

These organizations will come together again in Brownsville, Coney Island and Harlem in June in the hopes to also help others affected by Hurricane Sandy and families in need.