The Dropout Goes All Out for Down Under


 The Dropout is going all out to help those Down Under. Rockaway knows how it feels when disaster strikes, which is why the community is paying it forward to a place going through its own disaster—Australia.

On Saturday, January 18, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Dropout at Bay 9 in Riis Park is hosting the Rockaway Strong: Australia Bushfire Relief Fundraiser, and everyone is welcome to show their support.

When Julia Steinberg, owner of The Dropout, saw the death and destruction caused by mass bushfires in Australia, she wanted to do more than watch the terror unfold on the news. “I was feeling so bad for these people and it reminded me of how we were all feeling really hopeless after Hurricane Sandy. Then I started to remember the feeling of when people from everywhere were helping me and my family and most of the donations came from people who don’t live in Rockaway. It meant so much to know that other people cared,” Steinberg said. “I think everyone can agree that we couldn’t have rebuilt the way we did without the help of so many people and I feel that this community is willing to give back and this is a great opportunity to show what we can do to help other people.”

So she came up with an idea to host a fundraiser to help those in Australia, and what started as a small effort, has blossomed into a strong community effort that will make for a fun local event on Saturday.

From gift baskets with gift cards donated by Whit’s End and Bungalow Bar, a plethora of gift cards and prizes donated by Cuisine by Claudette, Thank You café, Last Stop, Curran’s, Boardwalk Pizza, Pico, Batesy’s, Harbor Light, Thai Rock, Rockaway Beach Bakery, Zingara Vintage, Nicole Frontera Beauty, Locals Surf School, Ocean Bliss Yoga, Spa Rockaway, NurtureU Wellness, and other shops in Brooklyn, swag donated by FarRock Shop and SUPERARE and much more, the prizes are endless for the Chinese Auction that will help raise money. The Dropout itself will be serving up brunch early on and then concession-type food for the remainder of the event and will donate 50% of the food profits toward the cause.

A true Rockaway fundraiser wouldn’t be complete without live music, and there will be plenty of it on Saturday. Shannon Dinerman, the Beasy band, Justine Grove, Mike & Miley, The Porretto Brothers, Kyle Wade, Chris Solo and Tiffany Lyons, and Wine With Sue are all on the lineup.

The gift donations and stacked music lineup are the result of a mass community effort, which Steinberg says she was surprised to see for an event planned on such short notice. “It’s been incredible. I thought we’d be hosting a small fundraiser with a few bands and raffles, but everyone has been so generous and its grown and taken on a life of its own. This is the entire community coming together to do this. But Rockaway loves a good fundraiser. I’m surprised at how fast this was able to grow, but I’m not surprised by the generosity of the people here,” Steinberg said.

In addition to her own efforts of making the rounds to local businesses to seek donations, Steinberg says she had a lot of help to make this event possible. She credits her best friend, Michelle Murray, for helping to coordinate the event, Chris Long for helping to coordinate the music and Catherin Yeager-McQuaid for seeking donations from local wellness businesses and professionals. “By no means am I doing this alone,” Steinberg said.

All of the fun will take place under a special tent that will be posted outside of The Dropout on Saturday. The event is free to attend, but any donations are welcome. Cash is encouraged to purchase tickets to be used for the Chinese Auction. There will also be special event t-shirts and koozies available for purchase. For any updates, check out the “ROCKAWAY STRONG: AUSTRALIA BUSHFIRE RELIEF FUNDRAISER!” event on Facebook.

By Katie McFadden