Dancers, filmmakers and musicians came together Tuesday for Brooklyn Loves Brooklyn, a benefit for Hurricane Sandy relief at Irondale Center in Fort Greene.
Their mission? To tell the rest of the borough and city that Brooklyn is ready to lend a helping hand for as long as people in hard-hit neighborhoods like Red Hook, Coney Island and Far Rockaway need it.
"This is what we do," said Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Brooklyn, to a packed house at the theater on S. Oxford Street.
Organized by representatives of Fort Greene's political and artistic community, Tuesday's benefit raised badly needed funds for Sandy relief organizations like Red Hook Initiative.
But the night had a personal focus as well.
"I never thought I would say my family would be homeless," said Mary Ann Hedderson, who works at Mullane's nearby.
Hedderson's family lived in the Queens beachside community of Breezy Point and lost everything once Hurricane Sandy came ashore.
Other stories of the suffering in Sandy's wake abounded.
James told the crowd about encountering a man from Red Hook Houses living without heat, electricity or hot water for weeks, who recently walked into Irondale Center "just to look around."
"He whispered to me, 'I need some gloves. I need a turtleneck. I need a sweater,'" she said.
The Brooklyn Democrat went on to describe a Fort Greene that readily displayed its generosity — not just for Hurricane Sandy victims, but also for other needy people like the family of the worker who died in a building collapse on Carlton Avenue in September.
"It was this neighborhood that raised funds to bury him," James said. "And after Sandy hit, this neighborhood flooded my office with calls."