Marivel Sumaya Passacantando's family and friends in her hometown of Staten Island were among those pounded by Hurricane Sandy last week.
Now, the Buckingham woman is collecting much-needed supplies to take to those who have lost so much.
"My husband’s aunt’s house is devastated," Passacantando told Doylestown Patch on Monday. "My two sisters were not in the evacuation area, but they do have relatives whose homes were flooded. Everything’s lost. Other close friends, everything’s gone."
Passacantando and her husband Peter, who live in the Buckingham Square neighborhood, were raised in Staten Island. Seeing the devastation in her hometown, she knew she had to do something to help.
On Saturday, after picking up her daughter from marching band practice at Archbishop Wood, the family stopped at a grocery store for something to eat. That's when the thought hit her that Staten Island families needed the same thing.
But the grocery store couldn't help much, because the donation drive isn't being run by an official charity.
So Passacantando turned to her social network.
"I thought, you know what, I’m just going to message people on Facebook, text, and e-mail," she said. "I started at 9 p.m. on Saturday, and the responses just kept rolling in."
The Passacandtandos' living room is now filled with donations from friends and acquaintances awaiting transport to Staten Island.
Transportation is the next crucial step.
"We’re trying to get a donation of possibly a big box truck, or a U-Haul to use," Passacantando said. "The truck is key right now."
Anyone who wants to donate items or a truck is asked to contact Passacantando at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most needed items include:
- manual can openers
- paper plates and cups
- plastic utensils
- BBQ lighters
- batteries, especially C and D
- baby wipes
- trash bags
- dry shampoo
- body lotion
- lip balm
- hand sanitizer
- women's sanitary items,
- medical masks
- new packages of socks and underwear for men, women and children
- warm gloves
- non-perishable foods and beverages, especially canned/boxed milk