Upper Valley Groups Rally for Hurricane Sandy Victims
Lebanon Plumbing Supply branch manager Shawn Knight packs warm clothes in boxes yesterday morning before they are loaded in a truck to be sent to victims of Superstorm Sandy. Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »
Upper Valley residents this week donated hundreds of overcoats, winter clothing and equipment to help victims of superstorm Sandy, and nonprofit groups are collecting material in West Lebanon, Woodstock and Claremont this weekend to continue the relief efforts.
Shawn Knight, the manager of Lebanon Plumbing Supply, said his store collected at least 1,200 overcoats, along with blankets, clothing, shovels and other supplies that are being trucked today
to a distribution center in Brooklyn.
“We were so busy just packing and moving, packing and moving, for two days straight,” Knight said yesterday after finishing loading a 26-foot box truck. “I was inspired in how people turned out in droves. We had over 100 phone calls (Thursday) just making sure we were still doing it.”
Knight said donors ranged from Dorr Mill Store, which donated eight new wool blankets, Cabot Hosiery Mills which donated 200 to 300 pairs of socks, to Valley residents who had lost their own homes in Tropical Storm Irene.
“They went and bought new stuff and gave it to us to send down there. They were paying forward whatever they received,” Knight said.
Other groups are also launching collection drives around the area to benefit victims of Sandy.
The Woodstock Area Jewish Community/Congregation Shir Shalom in Woodstock is running a “stuff the Good Bus” campaign, collecting blankets, laundry detergent, towels, new pillows, work boots, warm coats, new hats, and other supplies.
The temple will have a bus at the Wal-Mart parking lot in West Lebanon from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, tomorrow and Monday, and will also take donations from 9 to 3 p.m. tomorrow at its building at 493 Route 4 in Woodstock.
“We’re doing it because clearly the need is just so enormous with Hurricane Sandy, and then, on top of that with the nor’easter, many of these same people were just devastated again,” said Leone Bushkin, the president of the congregation. “It’s a huge bus, and we really want to fill it up.”
The bus was donated by The Good Bus, a charter company in Plymouth, Vt., and diesel fuel from Woodstock Sunoco.
The supplies from the Congregation Shir Shalom drive will be taken to a community on the New Jersey shore for distribution.
Tomorrow in Claremont, beginning at 9, the Claremont Kiwanis will be accepting donations of toiletries, non-perishable food and other supplies to help residents of New Jersey who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Their collection will take place at the Wal-Mart in Claremont on Washington Street.
Kiwanis club member Vic Bergeron said yesterday that the group came up with the idea about a week ago after reading about firefighters from Hooksett, N.H., helping out the families of firefighters in the storm-stricken state.
“We were talking about how bad the flood was and someone said, ‘why can’t we take a truck down’?” Bergeron said. He began looking for Kiwanis Clubs in New Jersey, made a few phone calls and got a great response.
“I spoke to one person who told me ‘people here are in dire need of stuff. You don’t know how much is needed,’ ” Bergeron said.
Bergeron said the Kiwanis’ 24-foot box truck will be parked at the Claremont Wal-Mart “all day Sunday and we’ll come back each day until the truck is filled, then we will head to New Jersey.”
“We think we’ll get a good response. We already have people offering to donate,” he said.
Besides canned food and toiletries, Kiwanis is looking for batteries, paper towels, diapers, baby wipes, water, blankets and clean clothing in good condition, including gloves and coats. Furniture is not being accepted.
Bergeron said the club was still talking to Kiwanis members in New Jersey to determine what area they will deliver the items.
Meanwhile, Gov. John Lynch announced that a 12-member team from the New Hampshire State Police would be headed to New Jersey today to help with law-enforcement duties there.
The troopers will arrive at Fort Dix, N.J., tonight and will be deployed for eight days.
John P. Gregg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3217.