"Down in spirit" is how a New Orleans missionary on Thursday summed up how some Louisianans are feeling 11 days after Hurricane Ida.
That kind of privation and misery, all too familiar to New Yorkers who made it through Superstorm Sandy in 2012, led Nassau legislators, the Village of Freeport and others to start collecting donations to share with those hit hard by Ida's heavy rains and flooding, both in Louisiana and locally.
"I was glad to get this call," said Minister Charmaine Baker Fox, Israelite Baptist Church of New Orleans. "Just to share with you all," she continued, that "some of the people, they are just so down in spirit. … They can’t see it getting better."
Nassau County legislators Steven Rhoads (R-Bellmore) and Laura Schaefer (R-Westbury), joined by Freeport Mayor Robert T. Kennedy, a Democrat, and Billy Byrne, the CEO of Rolling Thunder Veteran Service Group, announced the drive — and the long list of needed supplies, from mosquito spray to generators to clothes to nonperishable food to supplies for school, cleaning and pets.
"I can tell you from personal experience, what a blessing it was to be able to see tractor trailer trucks rolling in the aftermath of Sandy that were filled with the love and generosity of people all across this great country who were there to support us in our time of need," said Rhoads. "We want to make sure we are there to support them in their time of need."
U.S. Congressman Garret Graves, South Louisiana Republican noted via video that many Louisianans still do not even have clean water, let alone electricity or air conditioning, and described the uplifting effect of knowing strangers care enough to help out.
"It really does give us a sense of strength, a sense of resiliency — and I can’t thank you enough," he said.
Byrne, urging donors to give whatever they can, "even if it’s only a dollar," also stressed the unifying nature a disaster may bring forth. "This is what America is about; communities getting together to help each other … and it doesn’t matter if it is the community next to yours — or across the country."
Here are the drop-off times and locations for donations:
Merrick Fire Department Empire Hose Company (2300 Merrick Ave., Merrick) weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Freeport Engine Company #2 (15 Broadway, Freeport) weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bens General Contracting (19 Suffolk St., Freeport) weekdays 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Salvation Army of Freeport (66 Church St., Freeport) Monday-Saturday 9-5
Village Hall in Freeport (46 North Ocean Ave., Freeport) weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
County Legislature Building in Mineola (1550 Franklin Ave., Mineola) Weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With Alejandra Villa Loarca