Bayside helps Sandy victims

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Phil Corso

Thousands of Queens residents were left without power, supplies and shelter in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, while some of their borough neighbors just miles away saw as little as some siding removed from their homes.

To compensate for the disparity in storm damage, several groups spent the weekend organizing various supply drives in areas like Bayside, Long Island City and Whitestone.

On Saturday, the home of Thomas and Irene Fennell in Bayside was filled with more than 100 bags of supplies, including toys, clothes, games and more as they were loaded into a truck to benefit storm victims in Breezy Point. The supplies will be part of a major donation event the weekend of Nov. 24 at Martin Luther High School in Maspeth, the group said.

By the time Sandy had passed over that region, flooding and fires had destroyed more than 100 homes and left families with nowhere to turn.

“I knew exactly what I was getting myself into today,” said Irene Fennell, who was working alongside family, neighbors and fellow members of Bayside’s Sacred Heart parish to load the truck. “These people need our help. To think that they were left with nothing is so sad.”

The Fennell family fared well in the storm, losing only a piece of siding off their home by Sandy’s departure.

The supplies drive working out of the Fennell home in Bayside was held in conjunction with St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Maspeth, where Parish Athletic Director Mike Locascio reached out to local organizations and fellow athletic directors, including Thomas Fennell at St. Mary’s.

“This is absolutely wonderful. People are great,” Locascio said. “This is only a speck of what is going on in Queens.”

Not far from the Fennell home, C.J. Sullivan’s sports bar in Bayside turned its outdoor patio into a collection dock filled with storm supplies to benefit storm victims throughout southern Queens. By Saturday afternoon, the drive already had sent five trucks worth of material to affected areas in Breezy Point; Long Beach, L.I.; and Broad Channel, according to Sullivan’s employee Corinne McDonald.

“We have seen an overwhelming response. People just can’t bring enough,” McDonald said. “We are just trying to collect whatever we can.”

McDonald said C.J. Sullivan’s would also host a bar crawl on Bell Boulevard Nov. 17 and a fund-raiser Nov. 25 to benefit victims of the storm.

In Long Island City, employees at the 44-19 Purves St. SculptureCenter hosted a weekend-long supplies collection. Frederick Janka, associate director of the center, said the response from the community was massive.

“We have already sent off numerous carloads of supplies, but are still looking for cars with gas to pick up what remains,” Janka said.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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