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Delphos comes through to help those in need in New York PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:35 PM

Here is a first-hand account of the delivery by local volunteers of assistance items to New York City for Superstorm Sandy victims.

BY RICK SCHUCK

The Hurricane Sandy Storm Relief project’s goal was to generate needed items to assist people in need in one small area of New York City that was especially hard hit.  With the help of a local lady from the area, we were able to determine what was needed and how best to distribute it. 
The local VFW and American Legion had geared up to offer assistance to those in need displaced by the storm. Our collection drive collected items to meet those needs.  Clothes of all sorts, coats, toiletries, cleaning supplies and generators were among the items donated and purchased from donated money. Volunteers sorted the clothes and loaded the vehicles and trailers used to transport the supplies to New York.

Jay Kundert and Jeff Grothouse donated their time and resources to take the donations to New York. Their cargo van and 6-foot-by-8-foot trailer were as full as could be when they left for New York Friday morning. My truck was full and the 6-foot-by-12-foot trailer I hauled was over half full. 

I left for New York with my brother Ray at 9 p.m. on Friday. Literally thousands of pounds of donations left for New York and we arrived at 10 a.m. on Saturday Nov. 17.  Once there, we began the task of determining how best to distribute what was brought. We found out that for all the homes flooded, the owners were told to dispose of everything touched by the ocean water; this because there was sewage and oil mixed with the water and there was concern of outbreaks of disease, such as cholera, if the items were kept. This meant that those displaced by the flooding lost everything they owned that was on the first floor, with many homes being only one- story buildings. Those homes still standing now also had to be gutted to remove the possibility of mold growing behind the walls. Washers and dryers, cabinets, clothing, beds and bedding and building materials of all sorts could be seen along the route to our destination. Everything removed from the homes by day was being picked up by the sanitation department by night, to clean it up as soon as possible to prevent rats and other vermin from getting into everything. Many also lost their vehicles which were still parked along the roadways.

The American Legion post was set up as a relief site for workers as well as a soup kitchen for people to come and get food and whatever supplies were available. Their greatest need was cleaning supplies. We dropped off what donations were needed at the American Legion after which we went to the VFW a few blocks away. We found the building had been flooded out but they managed to clean it out well enough to be a collection point for donations so they also could help those in need. They also were offering food to those who needed it. All cleaning supplies and bath needs not buried by the boxes and bags of clothes we took were dropped off here, along with a generator, which they still needed as their power was out due to damaged wiring in the building.

One lady at this point thanked us so much for the laundry detergent we brought as she needed it desperately.

Next we were off to a VFW post further out on Long Island that was flooded out and needed everything. When we got there, we were only able to leave some clothes as their building was being torn apart to repair all the damage, the flood waters having reached about three feet in depth. 
From there, we were headed to another VFW post that needed clothes and other items. Before we could get there, we received a call that there was an area in the Rockaway’s that needed all the clothes we had. We turned around and went to the 90th Street beach area of Rockaway to find dozens of people rummaging through the few clothes that were there. With the help of a fire department chaplain, we were able to drop off all the clothes we had and before we were done unloading, people were coming to sort through the clothes.

One lady thanked us very much for the help as she was one who had lost all her belongings. We unloaded Jay’s van completely and kept a few boxes of items in the trailer I was hauling to take to another place.

By this time it was about 6 p.m. and time to get Jay and Jeff on their way as they were going to head back home. After dropping Jay and Jeff off at a motel in Brooklyn, my brother Ray and I headed out to Long Island to spend the night with a cousin; arriving there around 8:30 p.m. A very long day behind us we relaxed and went to bed.

On Sunday, I visited a friend on Long Island who had been out of power for almost two weeks but otherwise was okay. While there, he and his daughters gathered up four bags of clothes so I could take them to those in need. I also found out that the donations I still had in the trailer would be better served at the American Legion post we first went to. When I got there, I was told they had a load of clothes that they didn’t need, so we loaded the clothes on the trailer so we could take them to the area we were at the day before, the trailer being over half full when I left.

After loading the trailer and dropping off a generator and other supplies, I went off to pick up the lady who had helped us the day before, who was willing to help drop off the new batch of items I had picked up. When we got to the place we had dropped off the clothes on Saturday, we found that half the clothing had already been picked up by those needing it. There were even more people around than the day before and they were ready to take the additional clothing, cleaning supplies and toiletries we dropped off. By the time we were done unloading the trailer, all the cleaning supplies, soaps and toiletries were gone.

The lady who helped us, Ann Hanovic, a childhood friend, had lost her house as well as her daughters house from the flooding. The ocean at her house was at least six feet deep at street level and she lives three blocks from the beach. Both her and her daughter’s house have to be gutted and rebuilt. Needless to say, she is living the very worst of the storm.

She was very grateful for all we brought to help her community. Everywhere we went to drop off donations we were greeted by thankful people.
We know first hand that all the donations went to those in need.


On Nov. 15, students from St. John’s High School collected items for the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.  Seeking God Prayer Group work with the VFW in Delphos to help with this project.  Items collected were clothing, cleaning supplies and toiletries.  The VFW transported the donated item to the east coast. Emily McRedmond and Calvin Vonderwell, leaders of the Seeking God Prayer Group, stand with some of the donated items.

 

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