Operation Surfinbird

As one of those fortunate enough to avoid any of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, we knew we wanted to contribute in a hands on way and Operation Surfinbird’s Thanksgiving mission in the Rockaways was the ideal way to help. Shannon Sinclair, one of the main volunteers, gave MDC the lowdown on the big event:

Eli Metcalf and his wife Tamara Mcnaughton, spearheaded Operation Surfinbird (it’s really their brain child) and enlisted a host of their friends Nico Kern, Anna Bauer, Kristi Matamoros, Kathryn Typaldos, Anthony Conti from DKNY, Lisa Weatherby from The Collective Shift and our token non-fashion friend, economist Alvise Marino. Amy Sacco from No 8 enrolled Cipriani’s to do all of the cooking, National Grid donated 250 turkeys (85 we cooked for our event, and the remainder we donated directly to families in need for their Thanksgiving at home in the Rockaways).

We had a charity fundraiser before the event, which raised almost $30,000, hosted by Alana Zimmer, Jacquelyn Jablonski, Sara Blomqvist, Erin O’Connor, and Patricia Fields, with music by Andrew from MGMT, Taka from Gang Gang Dance, Tan Lines and Das Racist. We had over 100 volunteers on the day including models like Alana, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Freja Beha Erichsen, Sheila Marquez, Christian Brylle and Amy Hixson. We ended up feeding over 500 people on the day at St Mary of the Sea Church, gave over 150 meals for home deliveries, for people who had disabilities, or were homebound. We also fed a Rockaway adults home.

Anthony Conti (bottom right) leads the ground team in creating a welcoming environment.

Amy Sacco

Swedish journalist, Sofia Hedstrom is on the decorating team.

Alana Zimmer and Hanne Gaby Odiele help prep the tables.

My favorite section

Servers getting ready.

250 turkeys were generously donated by National Grid

First wave of people (photo from Operation Surfinbird)

We run into Christian Brylle in the downstairs room.

And Freja Beha Erichsen

And of course Sheila Marquez

Actress Lauren Velez from the HBO show Dexter tries to stay incognito but we spot her! Lauren’s family is from the Rockaways community.

2nd from left Shannon, Kristi, Tamara, Eli below her, 3rd from right Anthony, Alvise and Jose Velez the Rockaways Thanksgiving volunteer leader. Missing from photo, Anna Bauer and Nico. Photo by Junko Kioka courtesy of Operation Surfinbird.

Alana, Hanne, Sheila, Freja, Christian and Laura Egan (pic courtesy of O.S)

The organization still lives on in its drive to help the many local residents whose lives were devastated by the storm . With winter coming and many thousands who still have no home or belongings, please keep the victims of the hurricane in your thoughts. To donate, click here. For more pics from the event and to keep an eye out for other events, check out their Facebook page.

All photos by Betty Sze for models.com unless noted.

  1. So fantastic and kind of a few fashion heads to assemble for such a just cause.

    Whenever people whom have the ability to be anywhere in the world choose to instead lend a helping hand and an open heart to those in need, volumes are spoken. Cliche’ …but we are all in this together.

  2. That is absolutely awesome. Well done to everyone involved, it’s so heart warming.

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