Nabe leaders start donation drive for Haiti earthquake victims

Neighborhood residents will soon be joining the ongoing effort to help the thousands of families devastated by last week’s earthquake in Haiti.

Local elected officials and members of Millennium Development announced the kick-off of a massive fundraising/collection drive for the embattled residents of the mountain country.

Over the next two weeks organizers will be collecting canned goods, non-perishable food and financial donations at local legislative offices and through Millennium Development’s senior centers and after school programs in Mill Basin, Marine Park, Flatlands, Midwood, Bergen Beach, Flatbush and Canarsie.

The drive is being sponsored by City Councilmembers Lew Fidler (D-Mill Basin) and Mathieu Eugene (D-Flatbush), Assemblymember Alan Maisel (D, Marine Park) and other local elected officials.

“If every other kid attending these programs brings in a can, we’ll be in good shape,” Fidler told members of the 61st Precinct Community Council last week. “We all know someone who has family and friends in Haiti. We need to step up and do what any civilized nation ought to which is provide humanitarian relief.”

City Councilmember Jumaane Williams (D-Flatlands), who has also joined the effort, is among legislators allowing cans and perishables to be dropped off at his office at 4517 Avenue D.

“Ideally financial contributions are needed,” Williams said. “We are working with the Red Cross, UNICEF and Wyclef Jean’s organization until the infrastructure in Haiti is in place to distribute the supplies.”

Because ports and airfields are either closed or clogged, monetary donations will provide the most immediate help, Fidler noted, although canned and non-perishable food and medical supplies will be needed in the coming weeks.

Monetary donations will be given to groups supporting the relief effort, organizers said. Checks should be placed in a sealed envelope with the word “Haiti” written on it, and be payable to either the American Red Cross, Doctors without Borders or American Jewish World Service.

Paul Curiale, Executive Director of Millennium Development, said that not only will the children attending his organization’s programs help those in need, they will learn something about community service.

“Letting the kids know how important it is to help fellow human beings in time of need is a terrific object lesson for them,” he said.

Locations accepting donations include: Fidler’s office, 1402 East 64th Street; Maisel’s office, 2424 Ralph Avenue; Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein’s District Office, 3520 Nostrand Avenue; State Senator John Sampson’s office, 1222 East 96th Street; the Abe Stark Senior Center, 103-15 Farragut Road; Midwood Active Adult & Senior Center, 4815 Avenue I; and the Bergen Beach Active Adult & Senior Center, 2335 Bergen Avenue; Marine Park Active Adult & Senior Center, Avenue U and East 33rd Street. Millennium Development youth programs that will be collecting donations (from after-school children only) include IS 78, 1420 East 68th Street; PS 255, 1866 East 17th Street; PS 251, 1037 East 54th Street; PS 236, 6302 Avenue U; PS 222, 3301 Quentin Road; PS 207, 4011 Fillmore Avenue; PS 203, 5101 Avenue M; PS 119, 3829 Avenue K; PS 115, 1500 East 92nd Street.

Anyone wishing more information can contact Fidler’s office at (718) 241-9330.

More from Around New York