GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 16, 2012

Councilors lead grass roots storm drive

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — A community-wide grassroots clothing drive — coordinated by two city councilors, but not formally under the city of Gloucester’s sponsorship of leadership — is being planned for the week after Thanksgiving to deliver clothing and supplies to the victims of Hurricane Sandy still grappling with its aftermath in New York and New Jersey.

The drive is slated to run Monday, Nov. 26 through Friday, Nov. 30 at Gloucester High School’s Benjamin A. Smith Field House, City Council President Jackie Hardy said Friday.

She and Council Vice-President Sefatia Romeo Theken are among the chief organizers of the drive, though Hardy emphasized that the effort is not a coordinated, city-run project.

“It really is grassroots in every way — grassroots at its finest,” Hardy said. “It’s just that it’s Sefatia and I who are leading it.

“I’m hoping we can run the kind of drive we had, and get the kind of community response that we got, after the Lorraine (Apartments) fire,” she added, referring to the December 2007 inferno that claimed the life of one man and left more than two dozen tenants of the Middle Street apartment building homeless. In that case, grass roots clothing drives and fund-raising efforts by The Gloucester Fund continued for several weeks after the downtown tragedy that also claimed the Temple Ahavat-Achim. A new temple opened on the same location in 2011, while a new apartment building in essentially the same footprint as the Lorraine was built through pre-fab construction and also opened last year.

Hardy said that Hiltz Moving and Storage of Gloucester has offered to transport the donated items that are collected locally to a community in New Jersey. Hiltz Disposal also participated in delivering goods received through a storm aid drive coordinated last week through Gloucester’s Masonic Lodge.

The hours for dropping off items at the GHS Field House Nov. 26-30 will be Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., then again each evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Items that have been requested through the drive, Hardy said, include:

Winter clothing (men’s, women’s and children’s), socks (all sizes), winter coats, hats, mittens, gloves, winter shoes and boots (all sizes).

Blankets, disposable diapers, baby wipes, towels (cloth not paper), face cloths, first aid kits, work gloves (heavy duty).

Flashlights, batteries, sleeping bags and pads, contractor(heavy) trash bags, packing boxes (with flaps so that it can be sealed shut), packing tape, and black magic markers.

Hardy said that the drive has not connected with a nonprofit agency, or set up any format for residents to donate dollars.

“We’re not collecting money, we’re collecting clothing,” she said.

Anyone who can help, however, by donating, collecting needed items, sorting, packing, or in any other capacity is asked to contact Hardy at jackieAhardy@verizon.net.