STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The American Red Cross and Borough President James Molinaro seem to have patched up their relationship from immediately after Hurricane Sandy, as he hosted some of their top officials Tuesday at Borough Hall, where they pledged nearly $3 million in support for city families still recovering from the storm.
The Red Cross awarded New York Disaster Interfaith Services a grant of $2,968,424 to provide assistance to families still struggling with expenses and debt incurred as they continue to recover from the storm.
"I want first just thank the Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro for hosting us here today," said Red Cross CEO Josh Lockwood. "He has worked tirelessly with the American Red Cross and with this borough to serve people in need. We are in awe of his legacy here on Staten Island and continue to count him as a gracious partner."
Molinaro had ripped the Red Cross three days after the storm for what he considered its slow response to Staten Island. Within two weeks, the agency reported delivering hundreds of thousands of meals, snacks and relief items on Staten Island.
The $3 million grant money will be used by New York Disaster Interfaith Services to administer local "Unmet Needs Roundtable programs" and be distributed through the "New York City Unmet Needs Fund."
"If someone is going to dialysis, and they were using a car and the car was destroyed in Sandy, now she's using a cab," Molinaro explained. "Cab fare is expensive and she can't pay; the interfaith group that is receiving these grants today will be able to do that."
New York Disaster Interfaith Services is comprised of more than 80 faith-based service providers throughout the city, and they will be providing emergency cash grants, recovery grants, loans and discounted, tax-free appliances, furniture and building supplies through a partnership with Home Depot.
"Those of us here from the human services sector now have the opportunity to provide our expertise and resources to meet the unmet needs to help Sandy survivors," said Ron Drews, president of the New York Disaster Interfaith Services board of directors.
Sandy victims interested in applying for grants will have to first be registered with FEMA, then go through their case manager to the Unmet Needs Roundtable to see if they qualify.
Representatives from Catholic Charities, Home Depot, Islamic Relief and the United Way were on hand as well as state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-North Shore).
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