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Inside the Long Island City center, large brown boxes of donations lined the hallways as worshippers gathered at the center's mosque for prayer services.In the aftermath of the largest natural disaster in recent memory, people have responded to the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed much of the Indonesian island of Sumatra with donations of supplies and monetary contributions to the center, officials said."Immediately the Indonesian Community Center formed a team committee to help all our brothers and sisters affected," said Imat Badruddin, spokesman for the center at 48-01 31st Ave. in Long Island City. To date, the center has raised more than $135,000 and has enough donations to fill three more shipping containers. "Inshallah, by the end of this month we will be able to send all these donations to people," he said.Badruddin praised the generosity he has seen so far from New Yorkers. "We as a community would like to thank you," he said during the Sunday afternoon prayer service. "Thank you for your efforts, thank you for your generosity, thank you for your sympathy, for making it possible for all of us to say to one another that you are so concerned with events happening so, so far away."But with Indonesia's death toll nearing 100,000 and much of the country's infrastructure completely destroyed, much more help is needed for Indonesia."There are many areas that are not reachable," Badruddin said. "The Indonesian community is asking everybody to help in this terrible disaster."City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) joined community leaders and Kristio Wahyono, the Indonesian consul general, at the center Sunday to call for donations."This disaster has impacted all the communities we live (in)," Monserrate said during the prayer service. "We all understand the pain and anguish when our homes are hurt" in this borough of immigrants."We are with you," he said. "We feel your pain. We suffer and cry with you, and you have our support."As a symbolic show of aid on its way, Monserrate and Wahyono hoisted pallets of Poland Spring water into the small space left in the shipping container. They closed the doors together and clasped hands. "Best of luck to Indonesia," Monserrate said."May God Almighty accept the good deeds of you and your colleagues," Wahyono replied.To donate, people can send checks made out to IMCI to the Indonesian Community Center at 48-01 31st Ave., Long Island City, NY 11103. Canned food, clothing and medical supplies can also be dropped off at the center from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2005 Community Newspaper Group
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