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Neighbor to Neighbor: SE Queens volunteers help out at home base

By Barbara Morris

Like so many others, I was devastated by the Sept. 11 tragedy. Man’s inhumanity to man is very difficult to comprehend. But man’s capacity for compassion and sacrifice puts some so much above the others that we must marvel that we are all part of the human race. We have seen the faces, heard the stories, and have even known personally some of the heroes and heroines who have paid, and may still be paving, the price of the sins or the wicked. Our prayers will continue to be with all people of good will. What happens next is the big question. We pray for our leaders to have the wisdom and capacity to fulfill their hopes of eradicating terrorism.

That will be a monumental task requiring support and sacrifices from each and every one of us. Are you prepared to help in some way? Will you proudly display the symbol of the country that has afforded you so many advantages  — the flag of the United States of America? Please do, and stand with pride for the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” and other patriotic songs. If someone has the heart of a volunteer, one of the most frustrating circumstances we face is being prevented from maximizing the help we want to give. When I first heard what had happened at the World Trade Center, (which was only a few blocks from where I worked at one time — Broadway and Vesey Street), I wanted to rush in to become a part of the bucket brigade trying to rescue those buried alive. Transportation into Manhattan immediately became impossible, and outer borough volunteers without specific skills were told to channel their help through local programs. I left my name with my friends at the l05th Precinct and asked them to let me know if there was any way I could help them.

I was grateful to Fred Kress, president of both the Rosedale Civic Association and the Cornucopia Society for immediately including me in some of the helpful programs those two organizations have already undertaken — distribution of American flags, distribution of food to people from Zip Codes 11422 and 11413 and compiling information about what people present at the tragedy experienced, about those missing — Yolanda Dowling, in particular — and about our volunteer friends. The Cornucopia Society Food Pantry has also collected bottled water and new items such as work gloves flashlights, batteries, underpants, undershirts,: sweatsuits, masks, socks and first aid supplies, for transportation to the collection center in Manhattan. We have not forgotten that blood is, and will be, needed as well. Those interested in donating may wish to call 1-800-GIVE BLOOD to make an appointment

The Rosedale Civic Association and the Cornucopia Society are also collecting aluminum pull tabs from soda and other aluminum cans which Bernie Levinson then delivers to a Fire Department Burn Center Fund. All these things, considered separately, may seem rather inconsequential compared to the immensity of the other things our country and city are facing, but remember, one little grain of sand added to a lot of other little grains of sand can create a beautiful beach. We want to let all those good folks know that there are a lot of us who are willing to do our utmost to help too. EVERYONE CAN, AND SHOULD HELP, if in no other way than by respecting and obeying our laws and the rights of others. Although this may seem out of context at this particular time, I feel I must tall the vast majority of candidates running for public office that I have seen many, many electioneering posters illegally defacing our communities. The only person whose posters I have not seen posted in that manner is Mike Bloomberg. Shame on the lot of you! We have, in the past, warned against doing that, as did Councilman Sheldon Leffler, but our pleas were ignored, as was the law.

Summer will soon be over, and there will be a lot of leaves being turned over. Let’s all try to do our share of that too. We hope you keep the faith, stay safe and we hope we’ll all see a better world soon.

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