Here at the Brooklyn Backstretch, we are grateful that we weathered Sandy with only minor inconvenience: our power stayed on, and there was no flooding in this neighborhood. We feel very, very fortunate.
Those nearby were not nearly so lucky. Power is still out in many areas, and homes were devastated by water.
According to reports from people there, the Belmont backstretch is still without power, as are the homes of many who work on the racetrack.
I spoke this morning with Backstretch Employees Service Team and the Racetrack Chaplaincy, both of which are working to support the backstretch workers in need. I’m told they need blankets (the dormitories are unheated without electricity), non-perishable food, supermarket gift cards, and warm clothing. [Note: there’s a malware warning at the BEST side; without any power there, not sure they can fix it now, so if you’d like to donate to BEST, please contact me.]
If you’re in the area and I can get to you, I’m happy to pick up donations and bring them to Belmont.
If you’re farther away, you can contact these organizations directly to drop off donations or to make a monetary donation.
For more information, please leave a comment, e-mail me (address at the “about me” page above), or contact BEST or the RTC directly.
BEST: 516 488 3856. The BEST website seems to be down, and as there’s no power at Belmont, the phone may not work, either.
Racetrack Chaplaincy: (516) 488-6000, extension 4063
Update: as of about 4:00 pm, the power is back on at Belmont, but Paul Ruchames, BEST’s director, indicated that the donations can still be put to good use. I’ll be driving out there probably Friday and Saturday, so if you’re nearby and it’s manageable, I’m happy to pick up donations.