Local Volunteers Help Sandy Victims

As the Hurricane Sandy relief effort continues for New York and New Jersey, residents of Milford continue to send donations of money, supplies and time to help their neighboring states to the North. Just dodging the devastating storm themselves, local residents that are helping areas that were impacted by Sandy are constantly reminded how lucky they were to miss the destruction of the October storm.

Mechele and her daughter Danielle Kalaygian along with J.J. and Teri Carter and Amanda Kilby made a trip to New York on Sunday, November 10 to assist with the larger relief effort being held at the New York Container Terminal. Living in New York until the age of 21, Michele knew that she needed to help her friends and family still living in New York. After hearing a women on a national news broadcast asking for assistance one week after the storm hit, she knew it was time to take action. Putting the call out through social media Michele decided to take donations from the local community to make a trip to New York.

Group of volunteers at Staten Island on Saturday, November 17. Photos Source: 48 Hour Warm Clothing/Toiletries Drive For State Island Facebook Page.

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“Within minutes I had people contacting me that I didn’t even know in order to make a donation,” commented Michele. “Businesses, individuals and the students at the Milford School District all made donations for us to take up to New York.”

With the U-Haul trailer loaded with clothing, food and supplies the group made the four and a half hour drive to help sort donations that were coming in from across the country. While there they prepared boxes of supplies that were picked up by local churches and organizations to be distributed to those affected by the storm.

A day later Karen Messick of Milford and her family decided to drive to New York to drop off their collected donations to a sorting facility in Broad Channel. When they arrived they were asked to drop their supplies in a pile that was placed behind the facility. According to Karen the donations were piled high and were beginning to show signs of weathering from the elements. Not wanting her collections to sit in what seemed to be a forgotten pile, Karen decided to take the supplies directly to the people on the street.

“The streets were full of vehicles filled with water and debris was pilled everywhere, words cannot describe the devastation,” commented Karen. “At the collection centers we were told that people who needed the supplies would come get them but I kept thinking how can they pick up supplies without vehicles. We just pulled our truck over on the side of the road and started handing things out the back.”

On Saturday, November 17 Joan Greeley and Suzannah Martin Frederick helped organized a bus trip for 27 individuals to support any services needed by homeowners on Buel Street in Staten Island. While there volunteers helped repair several houses from the wind and water damage Hurricane Sandy left behind. With skilled contractors on hand, the group helped remove debris from houses, performed demolition services and repaired appliances such as hot water heaters.

“The streets did not look that bad when we first pulled up,” commented Ms. Greeley. “…but when we looked at the area on google maps it showed us just how much damage had been done. There were no trees or signs of vegetation left, it was a disaster zone.”

The group was limited to what could be repaired since many houses are waiting for further information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and insurance providers before they can begin major construction and rehabilitation. After the Thanksgiving weekend the group is looking to plan another trip to help those in Staten Island with repairs to framing, floors, roofs and other major projects.

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