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November 08. 2012 11:47PM

Raymond Rotary begins drive for storm relief

RAYMOND - Sitting in the warmth of the Ray-Fre Senior Center on Wednesday morning over breakfast, Rotarians began discussing ways they could help victims of Superstorm Sandy in the stricken states of New York and New Jersey.

In addition to news reports and devastating images of ravaged neighborhoods, they learned of fellow Rotarians who had lost their homes to the storm and thought about the cold weather setting in.

"We just decided we need to do something locally so let's get something going," Rotarian Tom O'Neill said.

The result is a hastily planned drive to collect the many items people in the New York/New Jersey area need immediately as they start to rebuild their lives.

The list includes new clothing, heavy-duty garbage bags, new blankets, pillows, bedding, towels and cots, cleaning supplies of all types, flashlights, disposable diapers for children and the elderly, and food that does not have to be heated to eat.

"They are really in dire straits down there and now the cold weather is setting in. They really need some help, so we're doing our part locally . and hopefully we can keep some of these folks warm, get them some clothes, some food to eat and ease their pain for the next week or so," O'Neill said, adding that everyone is aware recovering from the storm will be a long-term struggle.

The Raymond and Epping fire chiefs offered their departments as drop-off locations between now and Nov. 13, when Raymond Rotarians will collect the items and have them sent to the affected areas of New York and New Jersey.

O'Neill said they are currently coordinating with other New England Rotary clubs who are holding drives to figure out the logistics of getting the items to the areas where they are needed.

He said they will be distributed through Rotary clubs in the affected locations.

Rotarians plan to be out at businesses in Epping and Raymond on Saturday to promote the drive.

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Gretyl Macalaster may be reached at gmacalaster@newstote.com.


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