By Patricia Billinger
Red Cross volunteers handed out clean-up kits, blankets, water and laundry bags full of relief supplies at fixed distribution sites on Staten Island today. The clean-up kits were so popular among residents of affected by Superstorm Sandy that the distribution site at Midland Beach had barely finished unloading one box truck full of the kits before the first load was gone.
“This is great help, because my house is cold, dirty and disgusting and I got to get started cleaning up,” said Maria Roma, who along with neighbor Grace Bartolotta (pictured) picked up a clean-up kit as well as laundry bags with blankets and other supplies.
At another distribution site at the Charleston Shopping Center on Staten Island, Ryan Outerie was glad to see clean-up kits as well as plastic tubs – she took some tubs for her neighbors, as well.
“I didn’t know the Red Cross gave out these types of things,” she said, noting that garbage bags, cleaning supplies and plastic tubs are the types of items she and her neighbors need right now.
“We’re so beyond needing flashlights and water – now it is wonderful to have these bins and supplies like this,” Ryan said. “I can tell you one thing the whole world thinks we need that we don’t, is for people to clean out their closets and give us a bunch of old clothes,” she added, explaining that her teenage children are accustomed to feeling comfortable in their clothes, that it is unpleasant to dig through piles of worn clothing – some with holes – and they don’t have a home to store clothing. Right now, they’re focused on cleaning up and recovering.
“Bins are huge – to store stuff and to help carry out whatever you’ve got left. We have nothing to carry our stuff in. Any box you have is wet.” Ryan said, adding with a laugh: “And to put the clothes and other supplies I’ve got stuffed in my car.”
Distribution of the supplies is planned to extend through the weekend, in Staten Island as well as other neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey. Find locations at http://newsroom.redcross.org.