Hurricane Sandy shook everyone’s lives more than a month ago. Now that power has been restored in Westchester and life has gone on, it is easy to forget the thousands who lost everything and are suffering without homes this holiday season. But the Rye YMCA and Rye resident Melissa Yanis have not forgotten. And dozens of Rye members are donating to Operation Y Cares to do their part to help the unfortunate victims of Hurricane Sandy along New York’s coastline.
Yanis coordinated with Rye Y’s Chief Operating Officer Eileen Barber and three national charities dedicated to Sandy Relief to set up Rye’s own relief effort, Operation Y Cares. Volunteers at the Y are handing out lists of needed donations that will be collected for the national charities New York Cares, Catholic Charities and Believe in Belle Harbor. Harrison moving company Fraioli & Quigley is donating its time and a truck to transport those items to the larger organizations, which will sort and distribute the donations to victims of Hurricane Sandy in Belle Harbor and Staten Island who need the generosity of strangers this holiday season.
Operation Rye Y Cares started Saturday, Dec. 8 and will run through Dec. 16. Bring donations to Rye YMCA. They are still looking for volunteers to help out through the week until Sunday morning, when Fraioli & Quigley will pick up the items. If you are interested, email Yanis at firstname.lastname@example.org
The whole mission began when Yanis visited Belle Harbor with some friends and volunteered with Team Rubicon immediately after Sandy devastated the area. Yanis met people who lost everything in the storm, saw blocks of homes burned to the ground and water and debris damage throughout the Rockaways.
“I realized that people who were displaced or whose homes were destroyed are going to need infrastructure items to help rebuild their homes,” Yanis said.
She contacted Barber and together they launched Operation Y.
"As charitable community service organization we are committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility and I absolutely view this project as part of our work around social responsibility," Barber said.
“The Y membership has been incredibly generous,” Yanis said. “We launched our program on Saturday and we are slowly filling up a room at Rye Y with donations. We have volunteers doing shifts from 8:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. We have students, kids with parents volunteering and promoting Operation Y Cares. Everyone has been so incredibly helpful. I am really impressed by the response.”
Yanis has been involved in many different charities and volunteer organizations, but has never lead such a large organized relief effort. She attributes this success to the support from the Rye Y and local volunteers.
“The outpouring of support from the Rye Y has been amazing,” she said.
Below is the list of items needed. For an extended list of needed items, click the PDF attached to this article. Operation Y asks that only new items be donated.
Please note that Steve Rotker, the owner of Family Discount Center & ACE Hardware of Rye Brook, has offered to give any Rye YMCA member purchasing items for Operation Y Cares 10% off items on the shopping list below when they bring the Y's community wide email or "shopping list".
New Brooms & Dustpans
New Cleaning/Work Gloves
New Clear Contractor
Garbage Bags (3 ml)
New Shovels & Rakes
New Bedding (sheet sets & pillows)
New Towel Sets
New Pots and Pan Sets
New Air Mattresses
New Boxed Plate Sets
New Utensil Sets
Coats (New or gently used)
You can drop off donations to the Rye YMCA, 21 Locust Avenue, Rye, NY 914-967-6363.