A private relief effort is under way in New Orleans to help victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York. It’s being run by former New Yorkers who’ve seen how New Orleans handles hurricane recovery.
Gerry Rincon arrived in New Orleans a year ago for graduate studies in public administration at the University of New Orleans. Rincon says he saw how the city responded to victims of Hurricane Isaac, and thought he could replicate it to help his family and friends in Queens and the Lower East Side.
“People are going to appreciate the direct relief, you know, getting supplies, etc. The fact that people are noticing and caring and want to send them support goes a long way in helping the recovery process. It helps people get back to normal knowing that there are people out there who understand your situation, can empathize with your situation and are with you if you need them to be. And I think that’s one of the most important things that I’ve seen [in] both cities' recovery from disasters.”
Rincon and his friends are kicking off their relief drive tonight at Finn McCool’s bar in Mid-City. In addition to hosting a raffle, bar owners have agreed to accept donations. They’ll also be selling T-shirts for the drive they’re calling “Big Easy to the Big Apple.”
“Right now people are saying they need clothes, and they need supplies to clean up their houses," Rincon said. "And, who knows, in a week some people may say, 'You know what? We still don’t have water. We need water.’ So the money we raise — the cash in hand, we’re just going to hit a Wal-Mart or hit a Sam’s Club on the way up.”
Rincon and his friends will head north November 14 with a caravan of supplies.