Vermonters pitch in to help Sandy victims - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermonters pitch in to help Sandy victims

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

There was a steady stream of people dropping off food and personal hygiene items at the "fill a truck" event in South Burlington, for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey.  

Don Maley drove down from Grand Isle. "I thought that you know we had some extra stuff at home and I thought my wife heard about this drop-off and I thought this would be a perfect time to help out," he said.

It is a joint effort by radio station Star 92.9 and  Lowell's Moving & Delivery.  The items are heading to a specific destination, an organization in New Jersey called CUMAC ECHO.

Mary Cenci is part of the morning show on Star 92.9 and is helping with food drive. "What they do is they oversee 70 agencies that are throughout the northern New Jersey area where they were hardest hit by hurricane Sandy, so they are going to distribute this food to those agencies."
Organizers are pre-sorting the food to make it easier to distribute.

Amy Holloway was on her way to work, but wanted to donate to the cause.
"People were so wonderful to us after Irene and its important to give to other people it makes you feel good and also makes me feel good to know that my friends and family who are in and around New York  are going to get help," she said.

And on this day at least, Irene was a common theme.

Mike Czarny works with Mary on the morning show. "Last year with Irene my family was without power for a week so I know what it is like to be without power for a week after the first couple of nights by the fire the family time gets a little old and you are getting hungry," he remarked.

Janice Harvey, from Barre, was in town for a doctor's appointment, and heard about the food drive on the radio.

"I am very happy to donate, I remember when Irene came through and the donations and everybody helping made such a difference. I Just wanted to do my part," explained Harvey.

When Irene hit Vermont a new website was launched to help connect volunteers to areas that needed help. VTResponse.com also helped match items with folks who needed them .

"So we did go back through and get set up again to help Vermont and we were luckily spared from Sandy for the most part," said Sarah Waterman, who works for VTResponse.

Now VTResponse has reached out to New Jersey and Connecticut and has set up response websites for those states.

"Yeah we learned the lessons last year so there is no reason anyone else should have to go through that same process again so we are happy to help the other groups that are similar to us in New Jersey and Connecticut by doing things we can do without having to be there. It is easy for us to go to the website and hand them over the keys or help coordinate things for them so they can really be working on the ground we don't have to be there to do that part," said Waterman.

Volunteer opportunities are also posted, so those from Vermont who want to help know exactly where that help is needed, and how their efforts can be most effective.

The food drive continues Saturday starting at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of the University Mall in South Burlington.

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