Rihanna wowed her fans Friday by turning up at a Manhattan club where hundreds were grooving to her new album — and delivering supplies to the Daily News hurricane relief drive.
“Rihanna! Rihanna!” the fans began chanting when the sultry siren suddenly arrived at Jay-Z’s 40/40 club in Chelsea.
“I’m so excited,” Rihanna told a reporter from The News as she embraced fans and shook hands. “I didn’t know all these people were coming, but it’s all for a good cause.”
Stunned Rihanna fan Darylin Rae Payton said, “She gave me a hug.” “My friends lost houses,” said Payton, 20, of Jamaica, Queens. “I like that she took time to do this. It wasn’t even just her. She got everyone in here to give back.”
Rihanna rocked her fans’ world after she sent out a Mayday message urging them to bring “tools to move forward from this terrible tragedy” with them to her listening party at the W. 25th St. club.
“Hurricane Sandy has deeply affected the lives of millions all across the Eastern Seaboard,” RiRi wrote in an email to The News. “Many are still without power, heat, and the basic supplies necessary to rebuild in the aftermath of such a horrific event.”
Rihanna, who has already pledged 1,000 new sleeping bags to The News’ ongoing storm relief drive, added: “Now is the time for us to come together and do whatever we can to aid those in need.” That message was received loud and clear as Rihanna fans flocked to the club with supplies in their hands.
First in line was Helen’arlenecq Testamark, 21, of Harlem, who brought T-shirts, a blanket and an extra coat.
“I just wanted to go somewhere and give back,” she said.
Shanique Robinson, 23, of Mount Vernon dropped off a pair of fuzzy socks — and sang Rihanna’s praises.
“It shows that she actually does care,” she said. “She’s not like some other artists.”
Cameron Stewart, 19, of The Bronx, said Rihanna set a great example for regular folks.
“We as a people should come together and do it, not just artists,” said Stewart, who donated a mop, disinfectant and detergent.
Courtney Paige brought baby wipes, scarves and bleach.
“I love Rihanna, I respect that she is one of the celebrities that care,” she said.
But Paige, who is 26 and lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, also showed The News some love for organizing the drive.
“I think it’s great what the Daily News is doing,” she said. “I read it every day on my way to work…I just wanted to do my part.”
The items collected at the Rihanna bash were loaded on a Daily News truck and will be delivered to hard-hit parts of the city on Saturday.
Also on the News’ truck will be 3,000 badly needed blankets, courtesy of Modell’s Sporting Goods.
The News began running relief trucks on Sunday. First stop was the storm-ravaged Rockaways. Since then, The News has delivered supplies to Coney Island, Staten Island and Sea Gate.
On Wednesday, a News truck braved the nor’easter to help out critters left homeless by the storm, ferrying hundreds of pounds of pet food to Sean Casey Animal Rescue in the Kensington section of Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, other New Yorkers have stepped up on behalf of Sandy victims.
NYC-TV’s legendary Joe (Tuna) Centrone will cook up a storm of his own Saturday on the wrecked Rockaways. On the cookout menu: 1,500 hot dogs, 60 pounds of potato and macaroni salad — and chicken soup. Lunch will be served at noon at Bullock’s Gas Station on Beach 129th St. between Cronston and Newport Aves. in Belle Harbor.
The News got the relief drive rolling Saturday with a $100,000 donation from Publisher Mortimer B. Zuckerman.
Since then, the fund has more than doubled thanks to generous contributions from “The X Factor” judge Simon Cowell; Z-100′s Elvis Duran; Mets honcho Jeff Wilpon; the Manhattan Institute; Porschla Kidd, wife of Knicks guard Jason Kidd; and hundreds of readers.
To make giving easier, The News has set up a PayPal account that will enable readers to donate online at nydn.com/sandyappeal. You can also donate by scanning the square bar code on this page with a smartphone.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
What you can do to boost the Daily News Sandy disaster relief fund. All the money raised will go directly to those in need. Make checks out to our long-running Daily News Charities.
Specify in the memo field of the check or in a note that the donation is for the Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.
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