Long Beach offers support to Harvey victims in Texas

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LONG BEACH -

Long Beach city officials are holding a relief drive to help Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas.

Community members are collecting and donating things like personal hygiene products, first-aid items and non-perishable foods. 

"We were out of the house for two weeks," recalls Shoshana Katoa, a city resident. "It was terrible watching everybody suffer. It was really horrible. Now they're suffering, and somebody's got to help."

Residents and officials say it's an effort to reciprocate the support their community received in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

"As soon as we heard what's happening in Texas, we immediately wanted to spring into action and help the way hundreds and thousands of people helped in Long Beach," says City Councilman Scott Mandel. "We wanted to pay that forward."

Anyone can drop off donations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Long Beach Fire Department, which will coordinate with FEMA to distribute the supplies.

Elsewhere on Long Island, communities are organizing other relief efforts. Phones rang off the hook at the Red Cross office in Mineola, where people have been calling and asking how best to help Hurricane Harvey victims. The Red Cross says the best way to help them is financially.

"After Superstorm Sandy we saw the impact of that here," says Neela Lockel, of Red Cross Long Island. "So our volunteers are teams here are even that much more committed to helping." 

About 15 Long Island Red Cross staffers and volunteers are heading to affected parts of Texas, and more are expected to go in the coming days.

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