In the following weeks, The Rockaway Times will be doing a series highlighting the amazing local nonprofit organizations and volunteers who freely give their time and resources to help their neighbors locally and beyond.
After Superstorm Sandy, all, if not the majority of us on the peninsula and Broad Channel, can recall the faces of those who volunteered their time wholeheartedly to help our community without any payment in return. Some of these faces we will never see again, but they left their footprints in our hearts.
Now, it’s our turn. Folks in Texas devastated by Hurricane Harvey need our help, and now with Hurricane Irma boasting a force of Category 5 as of press time, pummeling the Caribbean and setting sights on Florida, more than ever, we need to step up. There are many avenues locally, where you donate your time and resources to help. Also, our philanthropic efforts are needed right here in our community for a neighbor living a street or miles away.
The following is a sample of local organizations in which you can join to volunteer your services in the peninsula and beyond. Note that this list doesn’t include everyone.
The Graybeards — What started off as a group of Rockaway guys aged over 50 playing in a basketball league in 1995, within six years, evolved into an organized group determined to help their neighbors as clearly stated in their motto: “To help our neighbors in their time of need.” According to Steve Stathis, former Graybeards president and now board member, it was RT’s publisher, Kevin Boyle’s idea. After losing 70 locals to the tragedy on 9/11, the Graybeards stepped up to help their grieving neighbors. They have since grown from 55 members to about 260 today, and were instrumental with rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, raising over $1.4M to help residents devastated by the storm. Today, they do tremendous work in helping the community by hosting events such as the Family Fun 5K Run, blood drives, the annual Spring Spruce up event, where they select a needy local family and do improvements to their homes, the Friend in Need fundraiser, where they help locals financially get through tough times by assisting with medical payments, financial support, tuition assistance, etc., and more! To join The Graybeards, you do need to be sponsored by a member. For more info. visit: thegraybeards.com
Rockaway W.I.S.H. — Since 2006, W.I.S.H. has been at the forefront of local volunteer efforts, aiding neighbors in times of need. Post Hurricane Sandy, they provided monetary relief to the recovery and rebuilding of Rockaway and Broad Channel after the Hurricane. According to their mission statement, “We promote participation in charitable events, particularly those that bring attention to and support causes that affect the lives of women and children. We are always looking for motivated women who would like to do what they can to support and help the Rockaway community.” By the way, W.I.S.H. is hosting a Hurricane Harvey Happy Hour fundraiser at Bungalow Bar this Friday, September 8 at 7 p.m. For more information: visit: rockawaywish.org
Also, if you are in doubt about whether an organization you would like volunteer your time and donate towards is legit, check their registered nonprofit status on the Internal Revenue Service website: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits or Guidestar.org
By Kami-Leigh Agard
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