Inrondequoit, N.Y.— It started out as a modest goal.
When the Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire District heard about the destruction in Staten Island and other parts of the New York City area, they wanted to help. They wanted to load up one moving truck full of clothes, food and supplies and deliver to victims downstate.
The first truck went down this past weekend. Volunteers from the fire district also went down to deliver the donations.
“When we got there, they were clapping,” says April Hendel, the president of the Sea Breeze Fire Association. “When we opened up the doors [of the truck] they would cry, cheer and clap. They just couldn't believe these boxes were filled.”
The group came back from Staten Island and wanted to do more to help.
“You look down the road and you can see their entire lives in their front lawns ready for the garbage truck to take them,” Hendel says. “They had nothing… We saw how devastating it was. We knew we had to do more.”
In just one week, the fire district had collected enough donations from people all over Monroe County, they were able to fill a total of five moving trucks.
Hendel says she has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Rochester community.
On Wednesday night, the volunteers helped pack more boxes and pack another truck set to head down to New York City on Saturday. Even as they were loading the truck, people were dropping off donations.
Hendel says the donations are a way for Rochester residents to show the victims that they are not forgotten.
“[In Staten Island] a gentleman said to me, ‘You know all [these donations] are great, but in two weeks people will forget about us.’ I said, ‘Not if we can help it.’”
The Sea Breeze Volunteer Fire Department is still collecting donations until Thursday, November 8. Donations can be dropped off to the firehouse at 4657 Culver Road. They will accept donations from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The department says donations of flashlights, batteries, medical supplies, cleaning supplies and generators are greatly needed.