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November 26, 2012

Editorial: Storm aid drive and Gloucester pride

A number of groups are collecting cash and items for distribution here in Gloucester this holiday season, with The Open Door and groups like AMVETS and the Toys for Tots program topping the list.

Yet another important grass roots drive now under way and based at Gloucester High School also speaks volumes about the generosity of Gloucester and other Cape Ann residents. It’s the clothing drive aimed at sending clothes and other items to the people of New Jersey and New York who are still grappling with the after-effects of superstorm Sandy. And it is a classic example of the kind of true grass roots effort for which this community has become known – and should be immensely proud.

The drive is being led by City Council President Jackie Hardy and Vice President Sefatia Romeo Theken, but Hardy was quick to point out that it is not a city-led effort. “It really is grass-roots in every way — grass-roots at its finest,” Hardy said. “It’s just that it’s Sefatia and I who are leading it.”

To that end, there is no bank account for residents to send checks — “we’re not collecting money, we’re collecting clothing,” Hardy said. Clothing and other items are being accepted at GHS’ Benjamin A. Smith Field House every day through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and again from 6 to 9 p.m. Items that have been requested through the drive, include winter clothing winter shoes and boots (all sizes); blankets, disposable diapers, baby wipes, towels (cloth, not paper), first aid kits, work gloves (heavy duty); contractor (heavy) trash bags and packing boxes.

Hardy said she hopes the drive will parallel the 2007-2008 clothing drive for the victims of the December 2007 Lorraine Apartments fire on Middle Street. And that drive indeed showed Gloucester’s best side, reaching out to help their neighbors in the face of a crisis.

In this case, Gloucester and its residents are reaching out to help others in the wake of a storm that, with a twist of fate and air currents, could have just as easily have devastated Cape Ann. It’s a drive that fully deserves this community’s support.

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