Brooklyn—Councilman David G. Greenfield has raised over $75,000 worth of donations for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico since announcing his collaboration with Masbia Soup Kitchen Network and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on the project three weeks ago.
“I’m extremely humbled by this outpouring of support for hurricane victims. It’s clear that my neighbors in Boro Park and Midwood care deeply when their fellow Americans are suffering, and they’ll do whatever they can to help,” Greenfield said.
The City of New York has its own relief program for Puerto Rico but no donation centers in Boro Park or Midwood, a fact that Masbia Executive Director Alexander Rapaport was quick to notice.
“I woke up Sunday morning in September, thinking I needed to do something, “ Rapaport said. “I wrote a letter in Yiddish asking people to go to Sunset Park,” the location of the nearest firehouse where the City was taking donations. “But how many people were actually going to drive all that way and do it?”
By that point, Greenfield was also aware of the location problem and decided his own office, in the heart of Boro Park on 16th Avenue, would make an ideal donation center. Then he began working with Rapaport to synchronize their relief efforts.
“I was very happy to find a partner in Councilman Greenfield who felt that what we as a community need to do something,” Rapaport said.
Within hours, Greenfield and Rapaport were hard at work promoting their efforts on social media, and Community Board Chairman Yidel Perlstein donated a truck from Lucky Truck Rental to help. That only left one remaining problem: how would they get the donated goods from Brooklyn to San Juan?
Enter Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who was spearheading a local relief effort alongside Governor Andrew Cuomo and the rapper Fat Joe. They already had cargo planes ready, and Diaz was gracious enough to allow room on his Bronx containers for the Brooklyn donations.
“I am incredibly grateful to those individuals and organizations who have done what they can to assist in relief efforts on the island during this crisis,” Borough President Diaz said. “Council Member David Greenfield’s efforts to collect much-needed supplies are greatly appreciated and show the type of goodwill and spirit this city can generate when one of its communities is in need of help. I am proud to call Council Member Greenfield a friend, and I thank him for his work on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico.”
Soon, the dripping of packages into Greenfield’s office became a deluge, and last week, Greenfield’s office was filled with hundreds of packages of donated food, water, first-aid kits, batteries and hygiene products. The response was helped by concerned citizens like 19-year-old Yosef Segal, who took time to encourage his friends and family to volunteer and raise funds for Greenfield’s relief efforts.
“We’re talking about great New Yorkers with different backgrounds, from the private sector and non-profits and the government, who live in completely different parts of our city, coming together to help others in need,” Greenfield said. “It’s been inspiring to see the broader relief efforts and a testament to the true character of New Yorkers.”
One full truck of the donated resources had already been delivered directly by Greenfield’s staff to a shipping container that will be flown to Puerto Rico in the coming days. “The pain of hurricane victims is immense. The least we can do is let them know that here in Brooklyn we care about them and will do everything we can to help ease their suffering,” Greenfield said.