ANTELOPE VALLEY – In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a local relief effort is underway to help victims in the most devastated areas.
Christina Lomeli, with the help of local businesses, has organized a relief effort to ship supplies to residents in New Jersey and New York, including first responders, who lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The group is calling on the Antelope Valley community to donate the following items:
- Winter gloves/hats,
- Snow boots,
- Rain boots,
- Sealed and NEW baby formula
- Gently used children’s books & puzzles
- New coloring books/crayons
- New men’s T-shirts, underwear and socks (for emergency service personnel)
- Cash donations (to cover the cost of shipping the items.)
Donations can be dropped off at any of the following Collection Centers:
- PALMDALE: Alliance Business & Shipping Center, located at 5022 West Avenue N in Palmdale (661.722.2221)
- LANCASTER: Max Muscle of Lancaster Sports Nutrition, located at 42303 10th Street West in Lancaster (661.723.8418)
- ACTON: The Rustic Cafe & Bakery~ Fresh Eats & Treats, located at 33312 Santiago Road in Acton
The AV Times caught up with Lomeli, via email, to find out why she decided to take on the local Hurricane Sandy relief effort. Read the conversation below:
AVT: Who is organizing this project? An organization, or AV residents, like yourself?
C. Lomeli: I, myself, am organizing [the project] with the help of the businesses who are accepting donations, and the use of social media. Volunteers are also stepping up. It’s been a great reaction from the community, thus far.
AVT: Where are the shipments going?
C. Lomeli: The shipments will go to the most devastated areas in New Jersey and New York – predominantly shelters, clothing banks, firehouses. First responders are on day eight, and they too have lost their own homes. They have requested simple things like socks, t-shirts, and underwear. We have five particular areas we want to ensure get delivery, where they are getting very little to no help at all, even still.
AVT: What is the deadline (date) to donate?
C. Lomeli: Clothing donation deadline will be November 10. Monetary donations will be ongoing, to cover our shipping costs, and long term will ultimately be donated to the disaster fund relief projects in NJ/NY.
AVT: Why have you decided to take on this project?
C. Lomeli: New Jersey is my home state. My family and friends are still in NJ/NY, and many [of my] friends have lost their homes. Many other people in the AV also have family in the devastation areas, and being 3,000 miles away, there is not much else we can do.
Five days ago, more than eight million people were without power in 17 states. Thousands of homes were inundated; thousands of people are still under evacuation orders. These areas in NJ/NY haven’t felt the wrath of a storm like this in their lifetime.
We know from Katrina and Haiti that donations to the Red Cross and telethons take months to be distributed where they are needed. There is a shortage of warm clothes, there is a shortage of food, and a shortage of gas. It just breaks my heart to see children on TV shivering, while their families wait in 4-8 hour lines for ONE blanket.
AVT: Why should AV residents donate?
C. Lomeli: Hurricane Sandy victims never imagined, nor have they ever seen, this type of devastation. They are scared, they are lost, and they are suffering major loss right before the holidays.
As a 13-year resident of the AV, I know how loving and caring the people are here. There isn’t a soul I know in the AV who wouldn’t want to help. We just need to get the relief project efforts put out there… I have collected 75 bags of clothes since Saturday. All it took [is] me seeing my high school friend’s home, as well as her mother’s home, inundated, with pictures of their homeless kids looking at what once was. She told me there are thousands and thousands more like her. And she pleaded for help.
The local Hurricane Sandy relief effort also needs volunteers to help sort and box the donated items for shipping. To volunteer, contact Christina Lomeli at 661-547-8129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* If you make a donation, please email your address to email@example.com so that the group can send you support ribbons as a token of appreciation for your support.