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Queens Chronicle

Western Queens helps out in Sandy’s wake

LIC businesses and pols collect supplies and offer free events

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Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 11:36 am, Thu Nov 15, 2012.

Long Island City businesses, individuals and politicians are all coming together to help out neighborhoods that were pummeled by Hurricane Sandy.

LIC Market at 21-52 44th Drive has a growing pile of supplies donated from community members who heard about the relief drive through Facebook.

“Water, clothing, nonperishables, blankets and coats have been the most common items,” co-owner and Staten Island native Lisa DiClerico said.

A volunteer with the office of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) picked up some of the goods on Friday and headed to the Rockaways in a four-car caravan. Most of the supplies will go to communities outside of Western Queens such as the Bronx and the Rockaways, Van Bramer said at Thursday’s Community Board 2 meeting.

The councilman is also gathering supplies at his office.

“Having been down there I can tell you that the greatest need is for food, water, blankets, garbage bags, work gloves, batteries, cell phone chargers and cleaning supplies,” Van Bramer said. “We do not need any more donations of clothing.”

DiClerico plans to take the rest of the items collected by LIC Market to Staten Island later in the week, combining 10 percent of profits made over the weekend to buy additional supplies.

“Staten Island was so hard hit. Where I grew up and my family are without power — but fine, but some areas are just completely devastated,” DiClerico said, adding that the drive to the hardest hit borough will have to wait for a few days.

“At this moment we don’t have enough gas,” she said.

Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said dwindling gas supplies and the effect it would have on relief efforts is a big concern for him. His office, like Van Bramer’s and many politicians in affected and nearby districts, also collected items for those hit by the storm; however, Vallone’s as well as his staff’s cars are running low on gasoline, he said. On Friday his office received some help from the Fire Department and Corona volunteer ambulances.

Other businesses in the area are chipping in by opening their doors for free. Laughing Devil Comedy Club and MoMA PS 1 welcomed their neighbors to use their outlets. The museum also sent a busload of donations to affected areas and held a workshop on Sunday for artists and galleries on how to safely handle damaged works.

The Chocolate Factory offered free tickets for their weekend shows and the SculptureCenter collected supplies. The Laughing Devil is giving free tickets to anyone without power through Sunday.

“Any respite we can provide is good,” Director of Visitor Services Eleanor McKinney said.

Many people who weren’t able to go to work in Manhattan and were feeling a little stir crazy flocked to the Queens Rickshaw in Astoria in the wake of Sandy. To return the favor the restaurant is donating 100 percent of profits made on Thursday, Nov. 8. to the American Red Cross. (A band will play from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.)

Beyond Kombucha, a local, slightly alcoholic kombucha brewer in Astoria, donated its beverage to the Queens Rickshaw. All proceeds from these sales go straight to the Red Cross.

“The restaurant has been extraordinarily busy ever since Sandy passed, which is why we felt impelled to give something back,” said Jennifer Lim, with the Queens Rickshaw.

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