Family delivers relief to Hurricane Sandy victims (Video)
By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
Jan. 17, 2013 at 8:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 17, 2013 at 7:18 p.m.
The Parikh family lives in a Great Gatsby-quality home off Country Club Drive.
Greeting visitors at the front door are two marble Indian elephants and towering classic Southern columns.
The family said they know they have a lot to be grateful for, which is why this holiday season they decided to give back to those in need.
During the holiday break, the Parikhs traveled to Breezy Point, Queens, to deliver locally-raised money to families who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy in October.
Namrita Parikh, 42, said she first heard about Breezy Point from her friends, Dr. Manju Sachdev-Chandna and Carol Ann Scherer, when they started planning a Breezy Point benefit at the Spring Creek Event center in early December.
About $15,000 was raised in donations by local community members and event organizers.
Several residents of Breezy Point are firefighters who responded to the 9/11 attacks, Sachdev-Chandna said during the fundraising ceremony.
Entire houses blown off their foundation, an electrical fire that burned down blocks of homes and a delayed relief fund from their local government weighed heavily on the donors' hearts.
One site in particular, Namrita Parikh said, tugged at her heart strings.
A burnt, red-orange stove stood as the lone surviving piece of equipment on an otherwise wiped out lot.
The solitary symbol of the home gave the mother of three great pause.
The Parikhs' eldest daughter, Pooja Parikh, 18, accompanied her father Dr. Dakshesh-Kumar and mother Namrita on their trip to New York.
"What struck me was the commitment everybody had toward each other," said the University of Texas freshman.
Dr. Dakshesh-Kumar Parikh, a Chicago native who spent the bulk of his childhood at a Catholic school in Bombay, India, said he was upset about the hoops homeowners would have to go through to get their insurance companies to cover the damage to their homes.
"You pay insurance all your life, and not everything gets taken care of," the father said. "That's what really frustrates me.
The family remembers retreating to a friend's home during Hurricane Claudette in 2003.
The damage to their home was minimal, said Namrita Parikh.
"People in Victoria care about what happens around the rest of the country," said the father. "We did it because we know someone would be here helping us if anything bad were to happen."
On Tuesday, Congress approved about $50 billion in relief Hurricane Sandy victims.