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Local efforts underway to help Hurricane Harvey victims

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which dramatically flooded parts of Texas and Louisiana and left thousands displaced from their homes and without basic necessities, locals across the North Fork are stepping up to help in different ways.

On Friday, the Riverhead Loyal Order of the Moose, located at 51 Madison St., is hosting a $15 spaghetti and meatball dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. All are welcome and all proceeds will go toward those affected by the record-breaking storm, according to Gail Cholden.

“Texas helped us with Sandy and now they need our help,” Ms. Cholden wrote in an email. For more information, call Ms. Cholden at 631-235-0554.

A donation drive is in the works in an combined effort between the North Fork Chamber of Commerce and Jernick Moving & Storage. The drive is set for Saturday, Sept. 9, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m at the Southold IGA.

The moving company will provide a truck and driver to collect donations and will likely deliver the supplies to a food bank in Corpus Christie, Chamber board member and Cross Sound Ferry terminal manager Andy Binkowski said Thursday. The Chamber is also hoping to donate $1,000 worth of $50 gift cards and has been spreading the word to coordinate with other local Chambers, he said.

The idea is to collect items that people will need in the coming weeks, Mr. Binkowksi said. This includes personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies and nonperishable food.

It’s a time when people can pull together and help, like many did after Hurricane Sandy, he said.

“What we’re doing probably won’t even scratch the surface of what these people are going to need or some of the things they’re going to have to go through,” he said. “If it helps 20 families then that’s 20 less people that are struggling.”

Suffolk County has set up an online donation platform in conjunction with the American Red Cross of Long Island, County Executive Steve Bellone announced Thursday.

“Long Islanders know all too well how Superstorm Sandy affected us all, and we will do whatever it takes to help our friends in Texas and Louisiana during this difficult time,” Mr. Bellone said in a press release. “I thank the American Red Cross of Long Island for their partnership and commitment to help those in need.”

Additionally, Suffolk Country Legislator Al Krupski is hosting a blood drive alongside the New York Blood Center on Wednesday, Sept. 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Suffolk County Legislature building in Riverhead. A portion of the donations will help alleviate the emergency blood shortage in the aftermath of the hurricane, according to a press release.

That same day, the county legislature, in conjunction with the Suffolk County Lions Clubs, will hold a food drive for non-perishable items at its Riverhead location from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory announced Friday in a press release.

Pets, too, are getting a helping hand. Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton is partnering with rescue groups such as Best Friends Animal Sanctuary to transport and accept as many animals as it can.

The first rescues should arrive next week, making their way to Long Island from Austin, shelter executive director Pamela Green said Thursday. Donations are always helpful, she said.

“This is a disaster of epic proportions,” Ms. Green said. “I don’t recall seeing anything like this in my lifetime. There’s so many displaced people and animals down there. It’s a dire emergency situation, so we have to open our doors up for that.”

Photo caption: U.S. Soldiers with the Texas Army National Guard rescue Houston residents Aug. 28. (Credit: U.S. Army/1st Lt. Zachary West)

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