A large truck filled with hundreds of much needed donations departed Tuesday, November 27 from Homestead City Hall at 790 N. Homestead Boulevard towards Rockaway, New Jersey, one of the areas most affected by Hurricane Sandy. Councilwoman Judy Waldman, who organized the Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive, was able to secure vast donations of food, blankets and other needed items in only ten days.
The effort was made possible with the help of dozens of volunteers who collected and classified donations, the City of Homestead, the Homestead-Miami Speedway, and northAmerican Van Lines and Homestead Transfer and Storage, which donated the truck and driver that will take the donations to the Northeast this week.
The truck was filled in such a short time thanks to hundreds of Homestead residents who came by the truck last week with donations, as well as a large donation of non-perishable foods by Congressman Joe Garcia, and a $5,000 donation from Jose Camarillo from Sky Net, which was used to buy food, clothing, blankets and other needed items.
A survivor of Hurricane Andrew herself, Councilwoman Waldman knows the importance of offering help to those who have lost everything in a tragedy. Twenty years ago, the City of Homestead experienced devastation as Hurricane Andrew swept through hundreds of homes and businesses on August 24, 1992. The kindness that people showed towards one another and willingness to help strangers overcome this disaster left a lasting impression on the Councilwoman. Waldman, as most Homestead residents, subsisted for months from donations from strangers from all over the United States. She founded the Kindness Awards during Andrew’s 10th Anniversary, as a way to recognize acts of kindness in times of need and today asked the Homestead community to pay it forward.
“This community knows all too well what it feels like to have a hurricane create such devastation. It is imperative we come together to help those affected in New York and New Jersey,” said Councilwoman Judy Waldman, who also organized a relief drive for Hurricane Charley in 2004. “Homestead was forever changed by Hurricane Andrew and is still recognized for having survived this catastrophic event. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary and the recovery of our community, so it was our turn to support our fellow Americans in their time of need as was overwhelmingly done for our community during our darkest hour.”