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Charity Begins At Home

Women’s Fund of Long Island joins forces with Patricia Arquette for local Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

While much of Long Island was still plunged in darkness and people were trying to piece together their tattered homes, a group of women from Sea Cliff banded together to help those in need. In five days, the group who had no power themselves, put together a musical fundraiser that raised $10,000 to buy much-needed supplies for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The event was held in the beautiful showroom of North Shore Architectural Stone and featured singer/songwriter Morley and actress Patricia Arquette, who served as the MC. Earlier in the day, Stacy Scarpone, executive director of the Women’s Fund of Long Island, joined Arquette and members of the Visiting Nurses Association to check on patients and make sure they had their medicine and had gotten through the storm okay. A side trip to Home Depot was made and according to Scarpone, “Patricia Arquette bought out the store getting a generator, batteries, mops, brooms, water to be delivered to parts of Long Island and the Rockaways.”   

Patricia Arquette, who has a foundation of her own that provides supplies to help the Haiti relief effort, was in town filming an episode for Law and Order SVU and wanted to know how she could help.

“This is our country; people can’t just sit and watch the news. If you are able to volunteer then it is your duty to volunteer and it’s our responsibility for one another,” she explained. “It’s a shame what happened in New Orleans and it can’t happen again. We have to come together for our own.”

The original concept was to get clothes and donate them to families who lost everything. Maggie Tanchuck, owner of North Shore Architectural Stone Showroom, offered her diesel-powered truck. Her husband drove the truck filled with clothes to the Town of Oyster Bay (TOB) only to be turned away. Fortunately someone from Long Beach heard about the clothes and offered to take it for their church. The women realized that their mission now had to change direction; they needed to raise cash to help victims buy supplies.

Elizabeth Jordan, a world-renowned photographer of post-war natural disasters went to work with no electricity and no Internet and began passing out fliers and knocking on doors hoping people would come to their event. Her friend Patricia Arquette offered her support and soon singer Morley came on board for the musical part of the event. Another friend, Sonja Nuttall, herself a fundraiser worldwide, helped mobilize the efforts.  

“There is a paradigm here that needs to be looked at. We fly to Haiti with all these guys and give them homes, tents and food but who is flying in here?” Nuttall asked. “People in this country are very generous but generosity has been so squandered. This event is pure philanthropy with 100 percent of the money going to the right place and being as effective as it can be in helping people.”

The event quickly came together. Food and wine was donated and the showroom was opened and decorated with Jordan’s amazing photography from around the world. Children from Sea Cliff and Glen Head also got together to pitch in.

Ten-year-olds Paul Jordan, Lola Scarpone and Kira Potapov also contributed to the cause.

“We raised $700 by selling bracelets, lemonade and Halloween candy and gave $50 to the Red Cross and the rest we bought groceries with and brought it to the church,” Kira proudly said. “Many of the people at the church had lost their home and were starving. Now when they go to pray they can have a full stomach,” Lola added.

While guests mingled among the stone statues, columns and admired Jordan’s photography, candles flickered and children from the local community provided music. Then Morley offered a prayer for the victims of Sandy and joined the children onstage, eventually getting the audience to join in song.

Elizabeth Jordan took to the stage and gave this toast: “What a lucky day it is. I felt vulnerable by the storm until I realized, I have a house, my kids are safe, my roof held and my house is intact. So I raise a glass to luck and a silent prayer for all those who were not so lucky.”

A quick look around the candlelit room revealed not a dry eye in sight, it was clear that there was no power failure here, only an empowered group of people whose efforts brought light and comfort to those who needed it the most.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving please remember those in need. To donate to the Women’s Fund of Long Island Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund go to www.womens All proceeds will go to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.