Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sandy relief: Urgent need for drivers RIGHT NOW at Floyd Bennett Field

Brothers Ralph Gagliano and
John Kearney at Floyd
Bennett Field right now.
UPDATE 2: Adds details in graf 2 about more Teamsters showing up to help.

Teamsters are once again distributing supplies to communities hard hit by Superstorm Sandy, but more of our brothers and sisters are needed to help. You don't need a CDL. Just go to Floyd Bennett Field at 50 Aviation Rd. in Brooklyn.

Locals 817, 210, 707 and 854 are there right now loading, unloading and driving Red Cross supplies. Local 282 checked in at Miller Field on Staten Island and Aqueduct Race Track. Sister Bernadette Kelly tells us Teamsters from locals 812, 817, 917, 802, 210 and 707 are helping out everywhere. And locals 805 and 814 have arrived!

Lest you think aid has reached everyone who needs it, read this first-person account of a visit to senior housing in Far Rockaway from Truthout. Two weeks after the hurricane, elderly shut-ins are still without power and running water:
Without power, residents can't turn on the lights or the heat. Inside, residents burn candles and light the dark stairwells with tiny, precious battery-operated flashlights. 
Going up and down the almost pitch-black stairwell simply to get out of their apartments, many could easily fall and become seriously injured. Outside, it's starting to regularly hit freezing and below temperatures, compounded by icy sea breezes. Inside, residents either risk carbon monoxide poisoning by heating their homes with gas stoves and ovens, or bundle up with blankets, winter coats and - if they have access - hot water bottles simply to be able to fall asleep. 
Without running water, residents can't flush their toilets or bathe. Many haven't flushed their toilet in more than a week. Even if one can leave, it is no use because the only operational local convenience store ran out of bottled water days ago. Residents have begun to ration what they have, expecting that it could be days before they can access more water. A few floors down, I meet Elizabeth Gerritsen—she is 94 years old, and though able-bodied, is frail, her bones shrunken with age. Like many of her neighbors, she had stayed at 711 Seagirt Boulevard through the storm, and once it had passed realized that without functional elevators, she was trapped with only the supplies that were left in her apartment.
Please help if you can. If you can't, please consider a donation to the Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund.