Paying it Forward to Texas — Ways to Help

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Having seen the effects of Hurricane Sandy, locals know what those in Texas are going through with Hurricane Harvey right now. Texas needs help and Rockaway is stepping up to the plate to pay it forward. There are several ways to help those in Texas.

Texas is feeling the wrath of Hurricane Harvey since it hit last weekend. The storm has caused more than 30 deaths and has dropped more than 50 inches of rain, causing severe flooding around the Houston area. Here in Rockaway, those who experienced Sandy are rallying to help those in need in Texas.

In the weeks after Sandy, gift cards were put to good use. There are several gift card collections going on. Maura Buckley of Operation Kid Comfort is collecting gift cards for Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond, Visa, AMEX, MasterCard, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Target, Amazon, Sears and more. All cards can be dropped off or mailed to Buckley at 211-60 Breezy Point Boulevard, Breezy Point, NY 11697 by September 15.

Theresa Flanigan of the Breezy Point Cooperative is collecting gift cards for Operation Blessing. Gift cards can be dropped off at the BP Coop office (202-30 Rockaway Point Blvd.) by September 8, along with any letters of encouragement. Rockaway WISH and the Graybeards are also leading a gift card collection. You can drop off gift cards at the WISH office (533 Beach 126th Street) or the Graybeards office (129-04 Newport Ave).

Local businesses are also stepping up to the plate. Local gym CROM Physical Culture is holding a gift card collection through Sunday, September 3. Gym member Richy G. will be driving down to Texas to distribute them. On Sunday, September 10, at 12 p.m., yoga studio Rockaway Love is hosting a charity yoga class. $25 donations to take the class will be donated to Team Rubicon, which was instrumental after Sandy.

It may be Labor Day weekend, but Broad Channel will be utilizing its Mardi Gras parade to collect donations. When the parade rolls through around noon on Monday, September 4, Broad Channel Athletic Club mayor, Tim Hanning will have a donation bucket for people to donate money and gift cards, which will be sent to Rapid Hope, which is in Texas, providing meals to those in need.

Matthew Alessi, of Rockaway Park, is currently living in New Orleans and will be heading to the Houston area at the end of the week to distribute donations that he is collecting through a GoFundMe campaign. Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/rockaway-harvey-relief.

If you want to donate items, our neighbors in Long Beach are holding a supply collection. They’re looking for cleaning supplies, first aid items, personal hygiene products, non-perishable food, baby items, gift cards, flashlights, batteries and blankets. They’re not accepting clothing donations at this time. Donations can be dropped off at the Long Beach Recreation Center at 150 West Bay Drive from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but act quick as they’re only collecting through Friday, September 1, so that supplies can be delivered quickly.

After their experiences in Rockaway, many would recommend not donating to the America Red Cross. There are some better options that got the job done after Hurricane Sandy and are already helping out in Texas. Try donating to Team Rubicon (https://teamrubiconusa.org), Tzu Chi (https://tzuchi.us/donate/cause/disaster-relief/ or the St. Bernard Project, the group behind Friends of Rockaway (http://sbpusa.org/), just to name a few.

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