Locals collect donations to help those impacted by Sandy

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

The governor of New York said Sunday morning the cold weather will leave tens of thousands of Hurricane Sandy victims in need of housing.

The announcement prompted several businesses in Charlotte to donate their profits to New York-area charities.

The Simonelli family is proud to call Charlotte home, but they never forgot their roots. They moved here several years ago and opened up Lorenzo's Pizzeria in Ballantyne.

But Denise Simonelli still has family members in Staten Island with no power, and flooded homes.

"It's truly the worst thing that I've ever seen, and it touches close to home," she said.

More than 800,000 people are still without power and the temperature every night is near freezing.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pointed out thousands of people have generators, but there's no fuel to run them.

The city is handing out 25,000 blankets to residents who are staying in powerless homes.

On Monday night, Lorenzo's is donating 100 percent of its profits to charity.

"There are people that are starving right now. Freezing. Still without electric. Homes flooded," Simonelli said.

The money will go to a New York charity called the "Tunnel to Towers Foundation."

Customers can write on the back of their receipts which New York City borough they'd like the money to go to for relief efforts.

"This is very personal to us," Simonelli said.

New York City is known for pizza, but it's also known for its bagels.

"Charlotte's becoming a little New York, in its own way," said Nick Cadolino. "We have a lot of transplants from New York down into Charlotte."

Cadolino owns the Ballantyne restaurant Bagel Bin. He's originally from hard-hit Long Island, New York.

On Wednesday, 20 percent of all sales will go to the "Tunnel to Towers Foundation."

"I have some family that is going through the same things that the majority of people up there are going through. No gas, no power, not heat," Cadolino said.

Cadolino said every bagel sold can make a big difference.

It's not just restaurants that are going above-and-beyond to give back to people in need. Neighborhoods and churches are pulling together too.

A woman who lives in the Poetry Lane subdivision in Davidson posted a request for supplies on Facebook.

Friends started re-posting the Facebook request, and within a day, a moving company donated a truck to help her cause and strangers began dropping off supplies at her doorstep.

Sabrina Hicks said the moving truck will head to New Jersey on Wednesday morning. She hopes to have it completely packed by then.

"We're collecting food, water, clothing. A lot of baby items are needed like formula, diapers," Hicks said.

Hicks said any cash donations are going to the King of Kings Community Church in Manahawken, N.J., which is helping house homeless residents.