Councilwoman Judy Waldman helped bring relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy in Rockaway, New York after organizing a successful Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive with the help of local volunteers and their donations.
During a special presentation at the January 2013 City Council meeting Councilwoman Judy Waldman recognized the many contributors and volunteers of the Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive that she called Homestead Gives Back.
“Tonight we celebrate the many people who came together and helped make this relief effort possible,” said Councilwoman Waldman, who also organized a relief drive for Hurricane Charley in 2004. “Here in Homestead we know all too well the importance of helping each other in times of need. I am extremely moved that Homestead was able to help a little and pay forward all the help that we received after Hurricane Andrew.”
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 on donations from strangers from all over the United States. This inspired her to originate the Kindness Awards during Andrew’s 10th Anniversary, as a way to recognize acts of kindness in times of need. It also prompted her to organize the Homestead Gives Back Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive.
With the help of northAmerican Van Lines and Adrienne Griffitts from Homestead Transfer and Storage, Co. she was able to secure a 53 foot trailer and driver to deliver the donations to the Northeast. Mrs. Bennie Butler volunteered and helped organized dozens of volunteers to collect and classify the donations. Captain Edward Bowe, City of Homestead Emergency Manager, and Chief Alexander Rolle of the Homestead Police Department also helped to organize the effort. All of them were honored with a plaque to recognize their efforts. Congressman Joe Garcia, who brought dozens of donations and helped load the trailer, was also honored at the presentation, as well as local business owner Jose Camarillo from Sky Net, who donated $5,000 used to buy food, clothing, blankets and other needed items.
“The people of Rockaway, Queens will never forget Homestead, Florida,” is the message that Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall told Councilwoman Waldman during a conference call regarding the Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive.
The Homestead Gives Back Hurricane Sandy Relief Drive was also made possible with the help of many volunteers who were also recognized by Councilwoman Waldman during the presentation. Among those volunteers recognized were: Dennis Lewis, Yessier Triguero, and Patrick Williams of SkyNet, Steven Shiver former City of Homestead Mayor, Councilmember and Miami-Dade County Manager, Julie Richards, Rosa Brito of the Greater Homestead/Florida City Chamber of Commerce, Jim Leonard, Roger and Norma Sowder, Flor Arzuaga, Georgette Garrick, Tami Reyes, Guadalupe Leal, Yolanda Samaniego, Gerline Lubin, Gudelia Hernandez, Arlen Guillen, and Aura Rodriguez of SOS, Ileana Sanchez, Valerie Jimenez, Carmen Sanchez, Diana Wilson, Peggy Moore, Linda Fagan, Marijo Bierie, Spencer Weirbach, Nicky Weirbach, Marguerite Schantz, Nicholas Stingone, Bonnie King-Moran, Ernie Hernandez of Celebrity Spa who donated a van full of water and worked there unloading and sorting items for hours, and of Girl Scout Troop 138, Nanci M. Gonzalez Main Troop Leader, Ermelinda Gonzalez Co-Leader, Evangelio Roque Treasurer and Troop Counselor, Olivia Dean, Kimberly Ann Gonzalez, Daniela Penado, Kimberly Carranza, Giselle Haseitel, Isabella Haseitel, and Clara Spell.