Volume 74, Number 36 | January 12 - 18, 2005

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

Last Thursday, Padma Edirisinghe, owner of the Haagen-Dazs shop on Barrow St., left, loaded her car’s trunk with food and supplies to send to Sri Lanka for tsunami relief. The supplies first went to a Queens Buddhist temple, which packed them in a shipping container to be put on the flight departing the next day. An employee, right, brought more relief supplies out to the car.

Barrow ice cream shop scoops in for Sri Lanka relief

By Jefferson Siegel

With the tsunami relief effort kicking into high gear, one Village businesswoman is making a special effort to help. Padma Edirisinghe, owner of the Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop at 33 Barrow St. at Seventh Ave., started collecting donations of food, clothing and money at the beginning of January. Her scoop shop now has a large box by the door for local residents to place their contributions.

Edirisinghe and most of her employees are from Sri Lanka. Like many, Edirisinghe felt she had to do something to help. Over the first three days, she collected eight large bags of clothing and five bags of food. However, she has stopped accepting clothing on the advice of the Sri Lankan government, which fears the possible spread of disease from any used-clothing contributions. She will continue to collect food, medical supplies and cash contributions. In the three days following her posting of signs in her store, locals also contributed $500 in cash and checks.

As she prepared to load the bags of goods into her car, Edirisinghe noted that 39 hospitals had been completely destroyed in Sri Lanka, which is why medical supplies are especially needed. “I urge Village people to come by and donate money to rebuild the hospitals,” she said. “That is our special task.”

Coordinating her efforts with the Sri Lanka Buddhist temple in Queens, Edirisinghe said another relief flight was almost ready to leave, which is why she was leaving early on Thursday to bring the Village’s donated goods to Queens.

She plans on visiting her native land at the end of January. In the meantime, she plans to collect donations as long as necessary. And to encourage contributions, anyone who contributes gets 10 percent off their purchase.

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