2012-12-21 / Community

Joining Hands With Rockaway

Rye Brook Relief for Rockaway in conjunction with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Rye Brook; St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, All Souls Parish, Congregation KTI of Port Chester; and Congregation Emanuel of Westchester, and the Community Synagogue of Rye have joined hands to host a holiday party to be held at Congregation KTI for more than 100 residents of Broad Channel, Rockaway and Breezy Point.

“We wanted to have a holiday party in the Westchester area so the families living with the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, can get away from it all” said Gail Solow, cofounder of Rye Brook Relief. “They deserve a day filled with joy, so we’re throwing them a festive celebration.”

Planned activities include a hot brunch buffet, DJ and emcee, popcorn and cotton candy machines, bouncy castle, face painters, balloon twisting, air-brushed shirts, teddy bear making, a photo booth, and a whole host of other activities kindly donated by local area vendors.

And let’s not forget the presents! Each of the sponsoring religious institutions held their own toy drives so that each of the 70 children expected to attend have presents this holiday season.

Several other generous contributions include Kohl’s and their Kohl’s Cares for Kids book collection and pajamas sent in from as far away as Kentucky.

“This is a true testament to how one community pulled together to support another during this holiday season” said Sarah Portugal, cofounder of Rye Brook Relief.

Rye Brook Relief for Rockaway is a grass-roots organization founded by Sarah Portugal and Gail Solow in November 2012 following the devastation brought on by Hurricane Sandy. What started as a simple request for donations for a young family whose home was destroyed in Broad Channel, has blossomed into so much more.

Rye Brook Relief for Rockaway has solicited, collected, and distributed thousands of donations to the residents of the Rockaways and Broad Channel. This includes clothing, winter coats, non-perishable food and hot meals, baby and personal care items, cleaning and household supplies, appliances, furniture, and monetary donations. The group has visited the area multiple times to personally make sure these items reach the families in need. In addition, they sponsored a drive for supplies, books, and furniture for two local schools decimated by the storm – Broad Channel Pre- K nursery school and P.S. 43, an elementary school in Far Rockaway.

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