Friday, December 21, 2012

Update On Roosevelt Island Giving Tree To Children Of Rockaways Community And Family Head Start Program - Presents Delivered And Thanks Received

Kai and Alex (Trellis Owners) In Front of Roosevelt Island Giving Tree At Trellis Restaurant via Karine Wong

Received update last Monday from Karine Wong, who organized Roosevelt Island relief donation and deliveries to Rockaways Community and Family Head Start School, on the Roosevelt Island Giving Tree.
Hi everybody,

As you may know we went to the Rockaways this morning to deliver all your wonderful presents. LOTS of them.

Images From Karine Wong

The principal and the staff of the school were just amazed and touched by the amount of bags and could not find words to thank us enough.
Images From Karine Wong

We agreed that they should be the ones distributing the presents to the kids and the teachers (yes we had presents for the teachers too) and they will send us photos to share with you. The principal's husband have been Santa Claus for few years now and will be again this year on our behalf.

We felt it was right not to disrupt their "routine" and thanked them on your behalf for allowing us to be part of their family.

The emotion was very high as we entered the school and walked the hallways where the little guys were sitting, reading and singing.

Hard for us not to think about what happened just few days ago in Newton in a school just like this one.

None of us could explain or put into words the feeling we all had at that particular moment and we decided to simply enjoy the moment and hug each other.

They offered to give us a tour of their first floor totally closed to the kids because of the flood and the growing mold. We can still see on the wall how high the water was. A few tables are sitting there with all the donations or I should say what's left of all your donations.

Images From Karine Wong

Families are still coming on the daily basis to pick up supplies or clothes.

2 classes have been completely closed on that floor meaning 40 kids are not able to come to school still and teachers are going from home to home to teach them.

At present, the school has made a priority of serving kids with special needs first and hopes to be able to rebuild and fix the first floor as soon as possible so all the kids can come back. It will take time effort and money.

We are hoping to share with you very shortly the smiles and the happy faces but also more news about how we intend to keep going with our project and help this school to get back on its feet. Keep in mind that this school MUST reopen fully in order for these kids to come back and for moms and dads to keep their jobs. It's like a domino effect and we are playing a very big part in this "game".
Ms Wong adds:
The school is partially open and running – serving about half of the children in need. There are some significant hurdles to overcome to get the school back into full operation. The school administration is trying to get the mold remediation done as fast as possible so that occupancy of the full building can take place.

Once that happens the long process of rebuilding the infrastructure starts. The school lost all of its infrastructure, phones, computers, office systems, offices, office equipment, desks, chairs…everything. There is partial telephone service (they can call out but others cannot call in), There are 2 classrooms functioning and some level of offices open. All the building supplies were lost, all the classroom supplies were lost, most of the class room infrastructure has been lost.

The school will close for the holidays at the end of this week. They will reopen after the new year.

We are compiling a list with the help of the school and some experts in early childhood development and education of the tools, toys and supplies that will help the school get back into full function.

We will not make another delivery until after the new year. We will make the regular Sunday collection once we get the list published – so please stay tuned and watch out for the notice.

Please have a happy and safe holiday and we look forward to the continuation of your efforts with the goal or re-supplying the school and getting them one step closer to full service and function as soon as possible.
There will be NO collection this coming sunday since the school will be closed for the Holidays. Keep checking our FB page ( and your emails for the next one right after the break.

As for the Giving Tree please keep bringing your presents to Trellis.
More on Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy relief efforts to the Rockaways from previous posts.