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Long Islanders reach out to help Sandy victims

(L-R) Town of Hempstead employees Rob Rugolo, Sal

(L-R) Town of Hempstead employees Rob Rugolo, Sal Lostrappo, and Phil Rullo unload cases of water during a free mobile food distribution program at Seamans Neck Park in Seaford. (Nov. 10, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan


Groups disburse food, supplies

Charles Musarra has been hesitant to leave his Seaford home, which hasn't had power since Sandy struck, because he's heard stories about burglaries and looting.

"I gotta stay in my house," said Musarra, 50, a mechanic who's taken to sleeping on the couch of his flood-damaged home.

But, running low on water, Musarra got a ride from his friend Tom Tyrrell, a lawyer from Merrick, to Seamans Neck Park Saturday after hearing that a local food bank and Town of Hempstead officials would be distributing about 50,000 pounds of food and supplies to Sandy storm victims.

"It's nice that at least somebody's doing something, because the federal government is dropping the ball," said Musarra, who lives alone.

Paule T. Pachter,, executive director of Long Island Cares, a food bank and anti-hunger organization, reached out to town officials to organize the distribution point at the park, which had provided about 25 families with free items by about midday.

The group plans to distribute more supplies in Bellmore and Oceanside next week, he said.

In addition to the bottles of bleach, cans of baby formula, cereal, power bars and donated clothing, $50 gift cards to the King Kullen grocery store were also handed out. The Long-Island based chain and one of its suppliers, Bozzutos Inc., donated $100,000 in $50 gift cards to Long Island Cares, officials said.

"We have family, friends and customers affected by this storm," said Joseph Brown, vice president of sales and merchandising at King Kullen. "We just hope whatever we're doing can bring some sense of relief."

— Nicole Fuller


Sisters give back to their community

Known as the shopping cart girls, or ladies if you prefer, Joan Baldwin, 46, and her sister, Lorraine Nazi, 49, both of Staten Island, yesterday dispensed cleaning supplies, gloves, Clorox and whatever else the Salvation Army has on hand.

Baldwin, who lives in South Beach, and Nazi, who lives in Tottenville, lost power after superstorm Sandy swept through the region.

"This is the only way I can give back," Baldwin said.

As the women wheeled their shopping carts on Freeborn Street near Lincoln Avenue in Midland Beach, residents walked up looking for mops, brooms and trash bags. When the sisters emptied their cart of supplies, they went back to the Salvation Army staging area and loaded up again.

"We handed out nearly 1,000 buckets today," Nazi said.

In the days after Sandy swept across the region and before the Salvation Army and other groups came to help with the recovery effort, Baldwin, with the help of her three sons and their friends, made 600 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

She and Nazi loaded the sandwiches into their shopping carts and walked around town, handing them out to neighbors.

"These people lost everything," Nazi said.

— Chau Lam


Church needs people to collect donations

Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church had a Sandy problem, deacon Luke Benedetto said: Too many parishioners had donated clothing, bedding, food and baby items, and not enough people in need had come to pick them up.

"This is brand new to me," said Benedetto, 44, a carpenter. "We're hoping people will hear about it and be willing to come out."

The roughly 600-strong congregation had gathered several pickup trucks' worth of items by Saturday afternoon and advertised their availability on a lighted sign outside the church, he said, but only a handful of families had taken advantage of the offer.

The church, at 1845 Wantagh Ave., will be open to pick up or drop off donations from 1 to 7 p.m. today and during the week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

— Nicholas Spangler

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