Sandy relief fund to get boost from fundraisers

Helene and James Rogers with their dog, Kona,

Helene and James Rogers with their dog, Kona, sit on their front steps at their home in Long Beach. (Feb. 7, 2013) (Credit: Steve Pfost)

A Nassau relief fund for some of the hardest hit victims of superstorm Sandy will be getting a boost with a series of fundraising events and a 30-second public service announcement urging people to donate.

The Nassau Hurricane Recovery Fund was created in late November primarily to help county residents not entitled to Sandy-related financial reimbursement from government relief programs and who do not have homeowners or flood insurance.

Since November, about $40,000 has been raised through individual donations, with the largest single donation -- $10,000 -- coming last week from the Turkish Cultural Center of Long Island. The first fundraiser is Thursday.


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The Rev. Kevin Smith, the chaplain for Nassau County's Volunteer Fire Departments and chairman of the committee that administers the fund, said, "people in Nassau are still struggling, and we're going to do all we can to provide them with whatever help and hope that we can. Applications have been pouring in." Nearly 600 residents already have applied for aid.

Among the applicants are Helene and James Rogers of Long Beach, who, like hundreds of other Sandy victims in Nassau, still can't get back into their homes. The couple had rented the first floor of a Long Beach house for four years, but Sandy drove in more than 4 feet of water and caused gallons of raw sewage to get into their house. Almost all of their possessions were ruined and they are now living with James Rogers' parents in Far Rockaway.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave the couple an initial renters grant of about $4,000, but that was used up by early January, James Rogers said.

"We had rental insurance but no flood insurance, and the company told us it was the flood that did us in, not the sewage," said Rogers, 48, an unemployed truck driver. "They gave us nothing."

Helene Rogers, 44, a secretary in the Long Beach Hospital's Department of Education, said they are trying to hold on until the hospital reopens.

Sponsors of the upcoming fundraisers are:

Cheeburger Cheeburger in Farmingdale's Airport Plaza will donate 20 percent of each check paid from opening until closing on Feb 21.

Volcanos, an Oceanside restaurant, will hold a similar fundraiser March 10.

The county's Women's History Month celebration at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration on March 14 will hold a basket and raffle auction aimed at raising several thousand dollars.

The Sandy Relief Concert, (Nassau helping Nassau) will be at Eisenhower Park on June 8. Bands donating their performances include Strawberry Fields, a Beatles cover band; Michael Delguidice of Big Shot, Billy Joel cover band; and Uppercut, a tribute band for Chicago, Steely Dan, and Blood Sweat & Tears; That 70s Band; RapidFire; FiveStone; and Last Exit, a Pearl Jam Tribute band. The Guitar Center will donate the band equipment for use by most of the concert musicians.In the upcoming television PSA message, Smith, County Executive Edward Mangano and a Long Beach resident make a pitch for donations to the fund. Cablevision, which owns Newsday, produced the spot without charge.

Information about the fundraisers and where to make donations can be found on the county's website: www.nassau countyny.gov.

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