As the East Coast begins to try and rebuild in the wake of destruction and flooding left by Hurricane Sandy, the relief effort will get help from Gillette.
Cindy Baldwin, who works for Bloedorn Lumber, has put together a supply drive for victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey.
After seeing what Hurricane Sandy did to New York and New Jersey, Baldwin said she felt she had to do something to help.
“I woke up that night and said, ‘They’re going to need help.’ So I’m just trying to do a lot,” Baldwin said. “My goal is to try and get 10,000 pounds or more of donations.”
In the wake of the hurricane, which caused massive flooding, people in New Jersey and New York need everything from food and water, to toiletries and clothing. Baldwin said half of the donations will go to New York for Move for Hunger, a non-profit organization supported by several moving and trucking companies, and the other half will go to the Salvation Army in Trenton, N.J.
Baldwin reached out to local businesses to help support the drive. She said the response has been overwhelming. North Park Transportation donated a trailer to store the donated items and Walmart is allowing the trailer to be parked in its parking lot during the drive.
Along with local businesses, Baldwin said she reached out to the Campbell County School District to see if the students could help by donating items and their time.
Allied Van Lines of Rapid City, S.D., will be making a stop in Gillette to pick up the collected items and taking them to the East Coast. Peter Allen, an owner/operator with Allied, has donated his time to drive the truck, which will be making stops in several communities to collect donated items.
Allen said he was donating his time because he was a victim of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In that hurricane, he lost three family members along with everything he owned.
“My grandmother, godmother and godfather drowned in an attic during the hurricane,” Allen said.
It wasn’t the first time a hurricane has affected his life. As a baby in New Orleans, Allen said his mother had to drag him on a small raft through flooded streets to bring him to the hospital during Hurricane Betsy in 1965. That story became fresh in his mind as he saw babies being carried through flooded streets in New York and New Jersey.
“For me, donating is about helping those in need. People cannot afford to just replace things,” Allen said. “You have to fill up your belly, but at the same time you need other resources.”
Allen said victims of the hurricane need furniture and clothes to replace everything they lost to the storm.
One of the people who will be making sure victims of the storm are receiving the help they need is Wayne Worthen, a retired business owner in Gillette. Worthen works for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in logistics and left for New Jersey on Thursday.
Once Worthen arrives, he will be helping make sure the supply line to victims of the storm is working.
FEMA’s logistics teams help find appropriate locations to set up disaster relief offices in hard-hit areas and make sure supply trucks with food, water and ice are going to the right relief centers.
“It could be anything from working in a staging yard to out in the field,” Worthen said. “In logistics, you won’t know what you’re going to do until you get there. It’s hectic. For Hurricane Ike, we worked 12- to 16-hour days, seven days a week, for five weeks.”
Both Baldwin and Allen said they wanted to help those in need on the East Coast.
“It means a lot because I truly understand when people lose everything,” Allen said. “It makes you thankful when you stick your key in your door and you’re not going through those things.”
Baldwin said the supply drive will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 10-11 in the Walmart parking lot. If you would like to volunteer or find out what items are needed, contact Baldwin at 660-7631.
Hurricane Sandy supply drive
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 10 and 11
Where: Walmart parking lot
Details: To volunteer or for questions, call Cindy Baldwin at 660-7631. If she doesn’t answer, Baldwin said to leave a message and she’ll return calls as soon as possible.