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Good Samaritans Cook Meals, Collect Supplies To Help Sandy Victims

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | November 8, 2012 10:18am

QUEENS — Western Queens may not have been as affected by Hurricane Sandy as other parts of the city, but its residents spared no efforts to help New Yorkers who were hit hardest by the superstorm.

Some have been cooking hot meals for those in need, while others have collected and delivered badly needed supplies.

Evie Hantzopoulos, an Astoria resident and local community board member, went to the Rockaways last week to deliver clothes and other supplies.

“But when I went there, I realized that what people need most is a hot meal,” she said.

So last Sunday she initiated “Astoria Cooks for the Rockaways.”  On her Facebook page she posted a message asking her friends to cook for the victims and drop off meals at her home. Her message was reposted by other Astoria residents, including local council member Peter Vallone Jr.

Hantzopoulos said that in no time people were dropping off home-cooked meals at her house. “We had everything — chicken soup, beef stew, rice dishes, mac and cheese… Some people also made sandwiches,” she said. A catering company donated special warming bags to deliver food.

On Tuesday, with the help of many volunteers, including drivers and those willing to work as servers, Hantzopoulos filled seven cars with food and delivered it to the Rockaways, feeding over 800 people, Hantzopoulos said.

“We had four locations including three we set up outside on the street and in front of Queens Library,” she said.

This Friday, “Astoria Cooks for the Rockaways” will be happening again (residents who want to get in touch with Hantzopoulos, can do so via e-mail: paraskevie@hotmail.com).

LIC Market, a Long Island City restaurant, has also continued its recovery drive which was initiated last Friday. Jeff Narciso, a general manager at the restaurant, said the venue had started the drive because many local residents wanted to help but didn’t know where to drop off supplies.

Last weekend the restaurants’ employees along with a group of volunteers delivered 20 carloads of items to the battered parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

LIC Market, located at 21-53 44th Drive, is accepting donations, including food necessities, scarves and blankets, until Friday.

Local elected officials have also been collecting supplies for the victims.

Among the most needed items right now are batteries, Vallone's office reported.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer went to the hardest hit areas last weekend along with about 400 volunteers from Sunnyside and Woodside, delivering 50 carloads of supplies.

His office said other items that are badly needed include non-perishable food, water, candles, diapers, cell phone chargers and cleaning supplies. Clothes are being not accepted at this time, Van Bramer's office said.