District 7230 (Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester) DG Greg Arcaro reports that is work being done in lower Manhattan, principally by the Wall Street Club. The Five Street Council is reaching out as the Disaster Relief Committee.  They met last Tuesday and will meet tomorrow, too.  They will coordinate all the projects in Staten Island and will partner with other countries for major grants. Money is still coming in from early solicitation through Staten Island Mid-Island Rotary Foundation. They had two or three days of volunteers to help clean and help to deliver supplies.  They have one location at a Catholic church. They have enough supplies at this point. Foundation Chair Janet deBenedetto is also looking to write matching grants with Matching grants to Nazareth Home. They do have an account to which they can wire money.

 7250(Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau County)  At this point, the most need is in Far Rockaway.  People are also working in Bayville. Freeport and Merrick were also badly damaged. Breezy Point is accepting donations, and was the worst-hit of everywhere.  They have done a great job with food, clothing and trailers – three came into Freeport directly to them from Lexingrton, KY.  Trying to warehouse stuff at JFK and then distribute it.  Also looking for funds to look . They still need more supplies. 7250 has an account.

7260: (Suffolk County, Long Island) The shoreline took a lot of damage, and lost a lot of homes. Most people have relocated. Lindenhurst is still looking for cleaning supplies, but other areas say hold off for now. LILCO has now connected most people. Connie said each district has a right to do its own fundraising. She has been collecting money for herself. They are renting a POD in Lindenhurst that will arrive on Saturday. There is a group called Bulldog that will distribute the items.  The whole area is still under curfew.  Connie will send volunteers to Freeport to pick up supplies. 

7490 (Bergen, Passaic and Hudson Counties, NJ): Peter Wells said that our warehouses were open for three or four weeks.  We were able to take care of our own area within a week, and then we diverted donations to other districts.  Our warehouses are now closed, although they still have some things in them.  We are trying to empty our warehouses.  We are ready to move into the building phase.  We still have some baby supplies, used clothes, water, some pet food, some mattresses and bedding.  Within the next couple of days everything will be out and gone. 

7500 (Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington Counties, NJ): District Governor Joan Vas visited Long Beach Island on Saturday. There were only four cars on the island.  Most houses had huge piles of debris in front of the house.  There was only one lane open.  The houses are still not accessible because of several feet of sand.  In Seaside and Normandy Beach, residents can only go two or three hours a day three days a week, so it is difficult for them to consider what and how they will do.  Some of the barrier islands are even more limited than the other islands.  They are not in a rebuilding stage by any means.  The little town of Union Beach lost over 300 homes.  It looks like it has been bombed.  People have not yet been given a clear picture for rebuilding.  Russell Anderson is running the CBR center in Eatontown.  They have plenty of cleaning supplies, clothes, water.  Long Beach Island and everyone else is coming to pick up supplies, which will be needed for well over a year.  Once the rebuilding starts, we will all need construction supplies.  People are coming to the facility and they are delivering supplies all the way down to Seaside Heights.  Churches with food pantries come regularly to Russell’s shite, and the entire district is aware of what is there.  Russell has not been overpowered, and the supplies are moved out.  Thirteen trucks have already delivered, from Mississippi, from Boca Raton.  He bought four stationery trailers with stuff coming in and out of then.  He has a food pantry and clothes on shelves by sizes. Volunteers are coming in every day to organize stuff. Russell is feeding everyone.  Russell will send me a list of contacts for trucks, as will Mario. Forked River has a 501(c)(3) 

7640 (Atlantic, Cape May, Gloucester and Salem Counties) District Governor John Andrews reported that in Atlantic City, the casino industry is starting to come back to life, but there are still many people displaced.  There were so many homeless people anyway, that it is hard to distinguish who is homeless from the storm and who was homeless before. They are using blankets and other supplies sent by Shelter Box.  Atlantic City rescue mission is handling both. In the Bay area (Fortescue) on the Delaware Bay, and many of the homes are leaning on top of one another.  Ocean City will be back in business by summer. They still need clean-up supplies especially and food, but no clothes. John did go up to the warehouse in Eatontown last week and picked up a lot of things.

Supplies Still Needed

  • Baby Food, formula and diapers
  • Non-perishable food
  • Bottled water
  • Toiletries
  • Generators for some areas
  • New clothes
  • New beds, cots, linens and pillows
  • Cleaning supplies*
  • Batteries, flashlights
  • Non-fabric furniture (no sofas or upholstered chairs
  • Gift cards to Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target universal gift cards. This is recommended as a project for Interact and Rotoract Clubs who wish to help. Send gift cards to Calisto Bertin, address below.

Donations of Cash

The Walter D. Head Foundation of District 7490 has already received approximately $180,000 in donations to date and expects more. Approximately $4,000 in donations was made online. $13,000 has already been spent on generators and gift cards. Donations from outside each of the collaborating districts will be shared equally among them. Please send donations and gift cards to: Rotary District 7490 Walter D. Head Foundation, c/o Calisto Bertin, Bertin Engineering, 66 Glen Avenue, Glen Rock, and NJ 07452).  Gift cards and cash donations from outside each participating district will be shared equally among them.  Thank you to the hundreds of Rotary Clubs, Rotary Districts and individuals who have helped us through this crisis.

Rotary District 7430 (DG Tony Jannetta) in Allentown, PA is running a telethon and online auction this weekend December 1) to raise monies for Hurricane Sandy victims as well as Rotoplast programs.  To bid on the auction, go to https://secure.maestroweb.com/Default.aspx?OrgID=606.

Rebuilding and Next Steps

Some of the affected Districts have now turned their efforts to re-construction, although some of the Districts are not yet ready for this step.

Each District Governor is putting together a list of sites that need rebuilding.  Where volunteers from outside the District are needed, we will post this list in an Excel format on this website and ask that Rotary Clubs and Districts wishing to send volunteers “sign up” using that spreadsheet and contact the District Governors or their designated representatives directly. That we, we can plan to use volunteers from other Rotary areas in the most effective manner.

District 7490 has already committed to renovate the Ambulance Corps in Moonachie, the Senior Citizens Center in Moonachie and is working with the Fire Department in Little Ferry and the Ambulance Corps in Hoboken to ascertain their needs. DG Bonnie Sirower has appointed Rotarian Jay Fowler of the Ridgewood AM Club, a contractor, to supervise rebuilding efforts.

Volunteers: District 7490 is holding a volunteer party on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, beginning at 6:30 pm at Seasons in Washington Township, NJ beginning at 6:30 pm. We hope to honor both Rotarians and non-Rotarians among the 250+ who have volunteered for this effort, and to introduce the non-Rotarians to Rotary and what we do, perhaps allowing us to get some more members for our Districts.

Sandy’s Santa Clauses

The South Bergen Rotary Club of District 7490 is conducting a Santa Claus program where they are asking displaced families to give their Rotary members lists of what they would like for Christmas/Chanukah.  As we get these lists, we will post them on the website. If you or your club would like to adopt one of these families, contact President Robert Olson . DG John Andrews in District 7640 is also putting together a similar program.

Next Update: December 8, 2012

Thank you to everyone – for your prayers, your volunteer efforts, your cash donations and gift cards, your donations of food, supplies, clothing, generators, etc. This is what Rotary is all about – caring for one another.

Yours in Rotary service,

Greg Arcaro, DG, District 7230

Connie Gevinski, DG, District 7260

Avi Tilak, DG, District 7470

Bonnie Sirower, DG, District 7490

Joan Vas, DG, District 7500

Dwight Leeper, DG, District7510

John Andrews, DG, District 7640

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