Thanks to our members and our community, the Rosenthal JCC has been able to deliver nearly a dozen bursting station wagon/minivan carloads of donations to Oceanside, the Rockaways, Long Beach, and UJA-Federation of New York.
Our collection continues this week. These are the updated items that are NOW needed ASAP (no more clothing needed at this time):
- Cleaning supplies
- Garbage bags
- Pet food
- Batteries ( AA, C, D)
- Toilet paper or flushable wipes
- Paper towels
- Mops and brooms
- Heavy dish gloves
- Warm gloves & hats
- Men's and women's underwear
- Non-perishable food items
- Kosher food
Jessica Morgenthal, RJCC Board President, and I were part of an RJCC caravan to the Friedberg JCC, a UJA-Federation network partner agency in Oceanside. It was devastating and painful to witness the effects of Sandy so directly. Most of the downtown was still without power, with yellow inspection signs posted on the boarded doorways of shops. Water damage to both of the Friedberg JCC locations (Oceanside and Long Beach) are overwhelmingly extensive, making daily operations of programs and services impossible. Instead of families filling the halls, there were members of a remediation crew hard at work and exhausted. Instead of children singing and playing, we were met with the sounds of fans, vacuums, and sawing as the damaged floors and walls were being removed.
Although weary, the Friedberg staff is in no way defeated by the events of the past few weeks! Just days after the storm, they sprang into action in order to serve their community, relocating their early childhood classes, rebuilding their agency, and hand-delivering donations door-by-door throughout Oceanside over the weekend.
We couldn’t help but feel how blessed and fortunate we have been. A week or even more without power is nothing compared to what others are suffering. We told them that our staff and volunteers will continue to be there for them, and when we asked what more we could do to help, Arnie Preminger, Friedberg’s President and CEO, smiled and said, “It just helps to know that we are not alone.”
These are humbling times indeed – times when we feel a deep sense of gratitude for all we have, times when we truly embrace and appreciate the sense of closeness and belonging – all that is the essence of "caring community." It is a time too, when we need to gather our collective responsibility, our strength and our resources to be there for those less fortunate than ourselves. Our RJCC is committed to doing that over the days, weeks and months ahead! In most cases it is too soon to even know what those needs will be. We will continue to say "how can we help?" and as the responses come in, we will let you know.
A special shout out goes to Michelle Isban, Chair of our Hurricane Sandy Collection Effort, and Jen Pergament, Chair of our Mitzvah of the Month Committee. Thank you also to all of our volunteers who have sorted contributions and delivered the donations – including Kathy Fallon, Michelle Barron, Nicholas DeCicco, Sandy Haft, Lisa Roberts and Alison Rubin.
Ellie Aronowitz, Executive Director