Bring Thanksgiving to Far Rockaway

Operation SurfinBird

The Rockaways have been devastated by hurricane Sandy. Many are without homes, those that have homes still have no power, and many have lost everything. As we approach winter, the damage to homes, schools, roads and infrastructure is still tremendous, the efforts to rebuild are becoming more challenging, and support from official sources is dwindling. We are Operation SurfinBird. New Yorkers, surfers, people that visit Rockaway, a group of friends that has seen the devastation of Sandy and is unwilling to stand by and wait for things to get better. We want to bring a home cooked Thanksgiving meal to the members of the community in Far Rockaway, one of the poorest and most hardly hit neighboorhoods of the NY metro area. We aim to raise awareness on their long-lasting needs and to give them a plesant break after what for many has been a very very hard month. We are aware of the challenges and that is why we are reaching out to you. We hope you can join us.

Unsung Heroes

hero

and we are not talking sandwiches.

There were many helping us from the shadows, working tirelessly in the background to bring this project to life. I’d like to list a few here that have gone unmentioned so far:

We would like to thank the people behind Cipriani at 110 E 42nd street, specifically Giuseppi Cipriani, Stefania Girombelli and chef Michael O’Connell for donating their precious kitchen, time and indisputably game changing help. Without them there would have been no cooked birds and we greatly appreciate their efforts. Also they have a really cool animation in their logo which makes them ever more epic.

We would also like to thank Larry Scott from Lawrence Scott Caterers in Hicksville for their equipment that we were allowed to use. Everything from proofing boxes to pots and coffee makers and serving pieces came from Larry so give back to giver and consider him and his team next time you need a professional caterer! 

Further big up to Chef Anthony Russo from Lugo Caffé who came with three other unsung chefs to help us finish off and rock the show. Check out his place at 1 Penn Plaza. I sure will! Click Logo for link

And last (at least for now) but surely not least we’d like to thank chef Alain Allegretti for his expertise and instant support. Go and enjoy his good eats at his Bistro La Promenade. And if you can’t go there then check out his website because he’s quite the looker!


Thats it for today but if you feel you havent been loved enough please let us know!!

Statistics of the bird

Now to blast you with some stats! Operation SurfinBird was founded on Nov 12th to serve a Thanksgiving dinner on Nov 22nd for what was initially 500 families, then 1500 people and was then reduced to more realistic numbers. (We are not ashamed that we dreamt big and had to readjust. If we would’ve started smaller this might have never come to fruition.)

We raised close to 30,000 dollars. That is $138 every hour from idea to execution.

A core team of 14 hopefuls organized a dinner for more than 600 Sandy victims and a fundraiser that brought almost 300 fashionable donors out on a Sunday night while also enlisting about 100 willing volunteers to serve food on our nations biggest holiday. 

Due to limitations of the venue and our ability to cook turkeys we ended up only cooking 84 birds, while remaining 166 turkeys were given to families in Far Rockaway to cook for themselves. 

About 500 people were served at the location in the Saint Mary of the sea church. Further 150 people were delivered a dinner to their home because they were disabled or home bound. We also delivered food to a Rockaways adult home. The left overs were given to the NY Mission which in return fed more homeless people.

These are some amazing feats for a group that has had ZERO experience in either raising money of this scale, cooking for this many people nor organizing more than a Friday night out. And this is why we would like to thank all the people that we managed to enlist for our cause! (This list is not in any specific order except the one I could find it in my inbox). 

We would like to thank: Alana Zimmer, Sara Blomqvist, Jacquelyn Jablonski, Erin Oconor, Patricia Fields, Andrew from MGMT, Taka from Gang Gang Dance, Tan Lines and Das Racist, Anna Bauer, Alvise Marino Kristi Matamoros, Shannon Sinclair, Nicolas Kern, Kat Typaldos, Cora Thomas, Anthony Conti from DKNY, Lisa Weatherby from The Collective Shift, the amazing Amy Sacco from No 8, Cipriani’s and the many many donors that have helped us see this through!!

At this point we’d also like to turn to all the nay sayers that told us this was impossible and say: Suck it. Apart from what we mentioned above we also proved that everyone can make a difference. What started as one beards dream turned into many peoples dream and together we saw it through. We also raised enough money to make a lasting impact with the community in Far Rockaway and proved that birds can indeed surf. BOOM!


Please continue to check in here and we’ll keep you posted on our future.

xo,

CEObb

Chief Executive of blah blah.

Pictures!

Are a bitch to upload on tumblr! (And I consider this constructive criticism dear Tumblr team!)

We have been in hiding for a few days which does not mean we havent been busy. The wrap up of this operation is almost as tricky as getting all these birds on peoples plates without poisoning our guests.

First, here are some pictures of the event itself. You’d think that with the amount of people involved we would’ve employed someone just to take pictures but we actually had everyone tied down with work so these are a collection of multiple peoples iPhone and what not photographs:

Now, in case you have never made a Thanksgiving dinner for a few hundred people, let me guid you through this: first, go to Cipriani’s. Apparently they are totally fucking cool with you (or maybe it was just us) raging in their kitchen without any intent of actually cooking anything for them. (Shoutout to Cipriani for being amazing!)

this is what pie looks like:

and these are our National Grid birds! We proudly used gas provided by National Grid to roast those turkeys!

Now comes the part where I have to admit I wasnt here for any of this. Your dear blogger here had previous engagements that could not be changed and thusly Iam not telling you from my experience here but simply relato refero (its latin, look it up).

So I am assuming this dude is the chef at Cipriani and was really cool and taught Eli how not to fuck up a turkey. Expect an edit of this part when Eli gets back to me about who this guys is.Sorry man in the picture, I can only know so much.

EDIT: TURNS OUT THIS MAN IS MICHAEL O’CONNEL chef of Cipriani’s midtown catering kitchen. My bad, didnt want to disrespect a man with a smile that big! That said I’m sure Eli has a big smile too but the beard just hides it…

After the food was cooked and ready to go it was moved on this truck by the lazy people sitting here inthe middle of the night:

Now nobody wants to have Thanksgiving and a dreary ol’ space so our team decked it out and gave the entire event some flair…

Here come some fun pics of our volunteers working hard to make this dinner the best one it could be:

here a few pictures of our lovely guests filling the venue:

Now sadly we don’t have many more pictures of the actual eating of the dinner but our volunteers were busy serving and making sure everyone was well taken care of.

After the hall was cleaned

it was time to celebrate our achievements with a few group shots:

All in all well done!!!

Thank you all for your support! We at the Bird really appreciate the love that has been shown to us and hope you guys keep on giving! We for now are figuring out how much has actually been spent and into what efforts we are putting the remaining amount and our remaining energy!

You’ll be hearing from us soon!!

Being Thankful

Dear friends and family,

we don’t think words can properly explain how grateful we are for your help, time, love. Our Thanksgiving event was a resounding success, and if you’re reading this, odds are you somehow someway helped us make it happen. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

So…..what’s next?

Aside from preparing a dignified traditional Thanksgiving meal for the community of Far Rockaway, our goal is to promote the long term challenges the coastal region faces, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

We’ve made good friends on the ground in recent weeks, we need to sit down with them and understand where help is needed the most. We got some learning and studying to do on this front, so bear with us for a second, as we figure out how to shape our effort to make a long term impact.

In the meanwhile, you might have heard rumors of us getting involved in something featuring Christmas, kids, toys and drives. We can’t confirm or deny at this point, but if you’ve seen our man Eli, you know we have a solid Santa candidate in our talent roster…

Thank you again. Keep your eyes peeled for news from us.

Love,

- Operation SurfinBird

And so it begins. 

Our bus full of birdies is on its way to Far Rockaway. 

We’re excited, we hope you are too. 

If you missed the bus, we have another ride at 11am. 357 w 16th street is where it’s at. 

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!!

And so it begins.

Our bus full of birdies is on its way to Far Rockaway.

We’re excited, we hope you are too.

If you missed the bus, we have another ride at 11am. 357 w 16th street is where it’s at.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!!

That’s right. Tomorrow is the big day.
A good night from the good people of Operation SurfinBird. 

That’s right. Tomorrow is the big day.

A good night from the good people of Operation SurfinBird. 

So you want to be a volunteer?

We are so happy to report that we are receiving overwhelming responses from volunteers. Who the hell says that NYC people are mean? that is a straight lie.

We have organized two buses leaving from 16th st and 8th ave at 7am and at 11am - predictably spots on the second one are running out. The early bird gets the worm, people! 

As for people who want to drive there, i am sorry but we really need you to take the bus. We have a lot of people coming and we can not feasibly coordinate people arriving at different hours, on different rides. So please sign up for a bus ride. Volunteer@operationsurfinbird is where you will get all the answers. 

We are so close

to 30k we can smell it. And it smells like we might be able to help getting certified electricians to affected homes to get their power hooked up.

Not promising anything but this might be big! Make it bigger by donating! 

Arrival of the birds

with only about 48 hours to go and our 250 turkeys arriving today our team is slowly moving into the kitchen. Below a little intro video of how we think this will go down

The lack of presence

must be excused. We’ve been working hard and are physically somewhere between this:

and this 

anyways, here todays updates:

-the question on everyones mind is how much money did we raise yesterday. The answer is: ~$9.000 in cash donations and our part in bar sales and an additional $1000 from Mark Carrasquilo who bought himself a dinner with our super models. Add this to our $17.477 raised online and we are looking at a total of almost 

!!!$28.000!!!

Thank you all for donating, spreading the word and believing in this cause!

Please keep up the good work, it is not done yet, There is still much to achieve. Which is why at this point I want to drop a few names:

- A big shoutout to Amy Sacco from Bungalow 8 here in NYC. She has been phenomenal with her help. Without her this task would probably seem much more daunting than it already is. Please go check out her beautiful bar one day and if you meet her give her a big hug from us, she deserves it! 

Amy in her epic bar (really go, the drinks are amazing!)

- Another big shoutout to RedBull for supplying transportation for Operation SurfinBird. The irony that RedBull will give wings to our birds is not lost with us. They will take them (and our staff) from the kitchen to the dinner location in Far Rockaway and then also from there to disabled and elderly people who aren’t able to join us in our venue.

Thank you RedBull, we truly appreciate your sponsorship! I’d also like to congratulate Felix Baumgartner on his achievement, that was pretty fucking epic.

(And so is this:)

 

- And last but not least we are thanking the people of GoodOnYaBar who are currently donating 100% of their sales to us! Thats how its fucking done! Check here for details.

Anyways, please everyone keep in mind we are NOT done. We still need volunteers to pull this off. We have the birds (thanks NatGrid) we have the cars (thanks RedBull) we have someone who knows how to feed 1500+ people (thanks @amysacco) and many eager people to help but we need more. This is still a crazy task and you can help:

Volunteer at volunteer@operationsurfinbird.com or donate here.

Thanks for reading and good night, sleep tight and dont let the bed bugs bite! See you tomorrow at 7AM!

PS: Sorry for not posting party pics yet but at the moment we have bigger birds to fry. Literally.

+$6,177

just in cash donations. Still looking into your credit card swipes and bar purchases, but this already puts us at $20,944.00!!

arnold

Thank you all for coming and supporting our cause! This is an amazing step and we can’t wait to keep you updated on our progress here. Eli is already up and at it making sure your donations are being put to work.

We will keep you posted on other numbers today.

Still needing more volunteers! Spread the word and email to volunteer@operationsurfinbird.com

Treating us like ROCKSTARS

yes that’s Axl Rose.

Our event has been making the rounds online. Here just a few that have mentioned our mission:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/prettylittlethieves
http://www.karmalooptv.com/categories/people/vashtie
http://www.ohmyrockness.com/showdetail.cfm?showid=75268

And here is one from the good ol’ times