Hurricane Sandy left parts of New York completely devastated, including Long Beach, the place SUNY New Paltz students Kali Quinn and Erin Kellar call home.
On Sunday, Nov. 4, Quinn hosted the “Route 32 Presents: Hurricane Sandy Relief Fundraiser” at Oasis Café, featuring Shana Falana, Crawl Babies, Dirty River and Inkmouth. In place of the $5 cover, of which 80 percent went to Hurricane relief, people could bring donations such as food, water or clothing.
Despite having less than a week to plan, Quinn said putting this event together wasn’t hard because she has two years of booking experience. She said that the community has also been “wonderful” and “receptive” to her fundraising efforts.
“Mike Amari from BSP Lounge took a show he was having there and moved it to Oasis,” she said. “Kevin, the manager, opened Oasis on a Sunday for us. Amari is also a graphic designer. He made the poster in a day, printed them and brought them here for me. It’s absolutely incredible.”
Kellar said she was pleased with the show’s turnout because it happened on such short notice and was on a Sunday night.
“We made over $400 and had so many donations,” she said. “We have four cars filled to the brim to bring down. I got way more than I expected.”
The fundraising efforts have extended outside of New Paltz’s “strong community,” Kellar said. She said she contacted a friend from her hometown who attends Marist to say they were looking for donations.
“She put the word out and got [four cars worth of donations] plus more in one day,” she said. “It’s definitely been a collective effort.”
Quinn said the show was not a standalone hurricane relief event, but part of a larger series of fundraisers. She said she already has a show planned at BSP Lounge in Kingston on Saturday, Nov. 10 and a house show on Thursday, Dec. 13.
“I want to do other events too like art auctions,” Quinn said. “We’re going to make things to sell. We [want to] make a compilation on Bandcamp. I contacted a bunch of bands and [we’ll] sell it online and give all the donations to whichever area we’re working on.”
Quinn said she also hopes the events will help spread awareness about what’s happening in hurricane affected areas and environmental issues.
“Another thing I want to do through these events is spread awareness,” she said. “First, of what’s going on because the hardest thing about this, besides being away from my family and friends, is being up here where people are in la-la land — they don’t read the news. It’s terrifying. I also want to spread news of climate change, open people’s minds and bring them back to reality.”
Amanda Sisenstein, an environmental activist and member of the planning committee, said it is important to look at Hurricane Sandy in the context of a bigger picture — climate change. She said two hurricanes [Irene and Sandy] of that severity and frequency hitting this region is not normal.
“Our focus is twofold — alleviate the suffering happening now and solving the systematic problem of climate change,” Sisenstein said. “If we come together as a community, country and global community, we can solve this.”
Even though the first show focused on Long Beach, Kellar said the group hopes to fundraise and help other affected areas.
“Right now the focus is on Long Beach, because that’s where our hearts are and families are,” she said. “We’re going to try to extend to other areas that aren’t getting help, like Breezy Point, New Jersey and Staten Island.”
If people want to get involved with the planning process or give donations to the hurricane relief, Quinn said to contact her through Facebook.