State and county legislators urged Long Islanders on Tuesday to donate money and supplies toward relief efforts for Haiti after Hurricane Matthew devastated the small Caribbean nation earlier this month.
The Category 4 hurricane made landfall in Haiti on Oct. 4, leaving behind a swath of destruction, a death toll exceeding 1,000 people and 1.4 million more in need of help.
The lawmakers recalled Long Islanders receiving support from people across the globe after superstorm Sandy in 2012, and said it’s now Long Islanders’ turn to pay the generosity forward.
“This has an eerily familiar ring to it,” State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said at a news conference outside the L’Antillaise, a Haitian and Caribbean restaurant and catering hall in Franklin Square. “We need to do the same for the people of Haiti.”
Several Haitian-American politicians spoke, including state Assembs. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) and Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon) and Nassau County Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont).
“These are people who don’t have a second option,” Jean-Pierre said of Haitians who have lost everything. “New York loves them, we remember them and we’re here for them.”
The lawmakers are hosting a benefit dinner at the L’Antillaise on Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.
“We’re asking people to not only open up their hearts but open up their wallets,” Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) said.
The $20 suggested minimum donation for the event will go to the Queens Village-based Health Education Action League for Haiti and All Hands Volunteers, a Mattapoisett, Massachusetts-based charity.
The politicians are also collecting food, water, tents, medical supplies, blankets, flashlights and other items at their offices to send to Haiti.