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Relief on tap for Queens hurricane victims

With power outages and limited access to food persisting, the city and utilities are distributing meals and dry ice in affected areas. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

As the Eastern Seaboard picked through the wreckage left in Hurricane Sandy’s wake, officials in Queens were setting up relief stations for those in need.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said Friday Red Cross officials advised her the organization has put cooking kitchens at Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway and at Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park.

“The plan is to begin distributing 10,000 hot meals daily starting Saturday on the Rockaway Peninsula and in Broad Channel,” Marshall said. “The meals’ availability will be announced on loudspeakers atop mobile trucks going through the affected communities.”

Marshall also announced that hurricane relief supplies and donations will be accepted at Resorts World, at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until further notice. Uniformed police officers will be in the parking lot off 109th Street and Rockaway Boulevard to accept donations such as canned goods, coats and shoes.

Resorts World also set aside the third floor of its facility for FEMA to use as a base camp. The federal disaster agency will use the space to store equipment and also give workers a place to rest in between shifts.

The gaming giant is also dispatching its own workers to aid in the relief effort.

A spokesperson for Resorts World said some employees are volunteering their time to assist in the recovery effort in Broad Channel and that the gaming company decided to open its doors to FEMA, Red Cross and the NYPD because it is one of the only places of its size and scope with the electricity needed to help.

In addition to supplying relief, all libraries in Queens are open with power strips available for charging devices as well as free Internet and Wi-Fi. The Queens Tech community is offering free technical assistance to businesses and individuals who need it at their space in Long Island City at 47-40 21st St.

All of these services are greatly needed as Marshall said more than 84,000 Con Edison customers in Queens remained without power as of Friday.

In addition to the relief stations, Marshall said sporting goods store Modell’s is delivering thousands of items of warm clothing Friday to Queens College, where the school is housing 514 evacuees – including 89 children and 15 infants – in its gym.

Aside from trying to power up the city, Con Edison will distribute dry ice Friday, beginning at 6 p.m. at PS 130 at Francis Lewis Boulevard and 42nd Avenue. Each dry ice package comes with instructions on how to handle it and properly dispose of it.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday he plans to hold Con Ed and other utility companies accountable for their performance during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

“I want accountability and I want performance,” Cuomo said. “I want utility companies to understand that this is a crisis for the people of the region. I want them to respond accordingly.”

Con Ed asks all customers to report any downed wires they may see and not to go near them. To find more locations distributing dry ice, report any problems or check on the status of your area customers are urged to visit www.conEd.com or call 1-800-75-CONED.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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