An effort from local residents to help victims of Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island started with one e-mail from the Knights of Columbus.
That e-mail, sent shortly after the hurricane battered the Northeast, sprouted into an effort that resulted in the collection of food, clothing and other supplies that that were delivered to Mount Loretto Church on Nov. 15 by the Westchester-Putnam Knights of Columbus.
The relief drive was spearheaded by Knights of Columbus members Jim Collins of Mount Pleasant and Gary Leonardo of Peekskill and included a large contingent of Mount Pleasant residents. Several local churches also participated in the charitable effort.
Collins said he and Leonardo’s idea was an outgrowth of the organization’s dedication to charitable causes.
“It all started a couple of days after the storm,” Collins said.
Word of the collection drive, which also included money to pay for some of the items, spread quickly, Collins said. There were so much food and clothing Collins and Leonardo lost track of how much was donated.
The Knights of Columbus St. Dominic Council #4399 in Thornwood housed all of the supplies until the truck was filled two weeks ago, which took a team effort, Leonardo said.
“We had a chain going,” he said. “It took us a couple of hours.”
The truck was donated by Brad Ickes, the owner of OCG, a Queens fiber optic company, and driven to Staten Island by Cortlandt resident Jack O’Malley. Catholic Charities set up a staging area for the donations.
“We were the first to pull in with an Army surplus truck,” Collins said. “Some of the members of the Knights of Columbus also met us to help unload.”