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Volunteers bring fresh soups and salads door-to-door in the Rockaways
Lindsay O’BrienAmeriCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Program
Stamford, Conn. – Oct. 21, 2013 – An organization providing healthy meals to Sandy survivors in the Rockaways is more than doubling the number of meals served with support from AmeriCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Program. Shore Soup Project, which makes fresh soups and salads from organic produce and delivers them door-to-door in neighborhoods where grocery stores are still shuttered, is increasing the number of meals served from 200 weekly up to 500 with funding from AmeriCares.
The program began last November when Rockaway residents and small business owners Robyn Hillman-Harrigan and Lillian Gerson began handing out hot coffee and tea to neighbors cleaning up storm-damaged homes. The partners in a boardwalk food cart business then enlisted the help of volunteers to deliver meals first on foot and bicycles, and then via a food truck, to residents having difficulty accessing healthy foods. To date, 400 volunteers have delivered more than 50,000 meals.
“With the transportation system disrupted and two neighborhood grocery stores still closed, healthy food options are hard to come by in the Rockaways,” said Shore Soup Project Founder and Executive Director Robyn Hillman-Harrigan.“With all the stress of fighting insurance companies and cleaning up storm damage, we can give Sandy survivors one less worry each night with a wholesome meal to put on the table.”
Clients place their orders by phone and get up to a week’s worth of free meals delivered on Monday evenings. Most of the produce is donated by the Park Slope Food Co-op. The rest is purchased, donated directly from farms and gardens, or grown by volunteers in a garden in the community. Shore Soup Project will also use a portion of the $100,000 grant from AmeriCares to purchase seeds and tools to start a new community garden on city-owned property in Arverne.
“It’s hard to believe a year has passed when you are out in these storm-damaged neighborhoods and you meet residents still struggling to get their lives back together,” said Lindsay O’Brien, who oversees AmeriCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Program.“With so many people still suffering in Sandy’s wake we are working to ensure survivors have access to medical care, counseling and other support services.”
AmeriCares has been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty worldwide for more than 30 years, saving lives and restoring health and hope. AmeriCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Program focuses on restoring access to medical care and mental health services in storm-damaged communities and provides funding for support services linking families to care. To date, the nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization has provided $6.5 million in aid benefitting an estimated 450,000 Sandy survivors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.