Sandy fundraiser ‘is crucial for rebuilding in Rockaways’

The celebrity chef is raising money for her charity for those left in the lurch by Hurricane Sandy – but mayor may not be there

New York has been pouring its money into rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. At a fundraising dinner on Friday for Sandy, the Relief and Reconstruction Fund for the Rockaways, which co-hosts the event with Andy Cuomo, the son of governor Andrew Cuomo, Sandra Lee, one of the city’s most famous chefs, and Alicia Keys, celebrity chef Michael White, New York magazine, and the Wall Street Journal, will raise tens of thousands of dollars.

“Sandy hit us in November 2012, the second-most destructive storm ever to hit the U.S., only surpassed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” said Lee. “Over 40,000 residents of the Rockaways lost their homes, and we need your help.”

Many of those lucky enough to survive the storm are struggling now, a little more than a year later, trying to raise their homes back up from the sand, but they won’t be getting much help from the major employers in the area who say they are eager to get their workers back on the job. Not only are businesses losing money, but they’ve been hiring fewer people.

The longer work is withheld, the harder it will be to get back on track. “Businesses have stepped up to the plate and pledged to help, but we need the buy-in from the locals,” said Jeff Patafio, owner of Shane Oyster Bar. “It can take years for rebuilding to continue – and that’s not an option for anyone. It’s vital that we have the support of the community. Now is the time to jump into action and support Sandy Recovery and Reconstruction Fund.”

It was Harvey Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax, who launched the charity two years ago to provide aid to New Yorkers in need. They have raised close to $24m so far.

“Given the devastation that the storm wrought, I was inspired by Harvey Weinstein to create a fund that would provide resources and compassion for those impacted,” said Lee. “It is my hope that we will bring resources back to the Rockaways that we had to be so hard-pressed to find on the ground due to the storm.”

The 10th annual Sandy Relief Dinner will take place on Friday, 23 September, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City, from 6.30pm. Tickets start at $500 and go up to $35,000 for a prime table for 10 people. The event will be broadcast live on WNYC as part of their “[email protected]” live event, with a discussion panel featuring Lee, Cuomo, Michael Bloomberg, Michael Bloomberg, Michael Lohan, Eric Schneiderman, and Kenneth Sunshine, among others.

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