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Photo courtesy of John O'Brien
Photo courtesy of John O'Brien
Residents at the Hurricane Harvey bake sale.

A group of Bay Ridge neighbors hit the pavement Labor Day weekend to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

On Sunday, September 3, residents of 71st Street between Ridge Boulevard and Third Avenue set up shop outside their homes starting at 10 a.m. for a last-minute bake sale to help Houston.

“The turnout was great,” organizer John O’Brien told this paper, adding that the group, so far, has raised close to $800 for the Red Cross and Catholic Charities.

The sale – though O’Brien’s brainchild – was a collaborative effort that, he stressed, could not have happened had it not been for the help of his family, friends and next-door neighbors.

“I don’t want to take credit for it because I had a lot of help from a lot of people,” he said. “I woke up Friday morning and said to myself, ‘I wish we could really help these people out.’”

And so, O’Brien – in true Bay Ridge fashion – turned to his neighbors for help.

“I spoke to my neighbors and said, ‘Would you want to do a bake sale with me,’ and they said, ‘Sure,’” the Ridgeite recalled, noting that, from there, he and the block took money out of their own pockets, went to BJ’s and other local supermarkets and got to baking. “In two days, we got the whole thing done.”

The group sold everything from sweet treats to lemonade and coffee.

“I’m really, really happy with the results,” O’Brien said, giving credit where it’s due to fellow organizers Lauren O’Brien, Joan and Charles Smith, and Marybeth and Julianna Smith-Affe, “to start.

“So many people came together to make this happen,” O’Brien stressed. “We want to do more.”

Hurricane Harvey hit the last weekend of August, quickly going down in history as the most powerful storm to hit the mainland of Texas in over a decade.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an estimated 185,000 homes are said to have been either damaged or destroyed by Harvey as of Friday, September 1 with more than 33,000 people said to be in shelters across the state.

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