By Crystal Kang
At a makeshift Inwood shelter at George Washington High School on Audubon Avenue, toiletries, blankets and clothing piled up Sunday afternoon. Volunteers hung a sign on the door, thanking would-be helpers for their generous donations, but emphasizing that what they needed were money and Metro cards.
Frederick Collock, 49, who is staying in the shelter, said he was grateful for everyone’s help. It was “a blessing in disguise” when he missed the last train out of Manhattan last Sunday, he said. His apartment in Far Rockaway, Queens, sustained significant damage from Hurricane Sandy, and it’s likely to be months before he can move back in.
In the past week, Collock, a dispatcher for a messaging company, has slept in four different shelters. Though he opted to continue wearing his own jeans and fur coat, donations have kept him in clean underwear. “Right now I’m focusing on trying to get some kind of housing,” he said.
Local leaders pushed the hurricane relief effort further by hosting a fundraising telethon Sunday afternoon, as food and clothing donations continued to pour into the uptown shelter.
“It’s better than being on the street,” said Yanira Lassalle, a 37-year-old nail technician who is staying in the George Washington High shelter with her two daughters.
Lassalle and her family had already been homeless for six weeks before Sandy descended. Flooded out of a homeless shelter in lower Manhattan she, too, has cycled through several emergency shelters.
The Uptown Cares Telethon at CUNY in the Heights Sunday, broadcast over radio stations including 93.1 Amor and 97.9 La Mega and live-streamed on the Super Canal and Manhattan Neighborhood News websites, raised $166,960, organizers said.