“The fifth-graders are collecting batteries and flashlights, and the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders are talking about planning a fundraiser,” she said. “We plan to be active in this through Christmas.”
She said the students in the middle school seemed particularly interested in hosting a “medicine cabinet drive” to collect supplies such as cough drops and adhesive bandages.
“They’ve gravitated toward the idea of easing the pain,” she said.
New concept on donations
After Hurricane Sandy hit, Dave Weinberg, 31, went with his gut. He sent buses to pick up victims in Far Rockaway, N.Y., and Bergen County, N.J., and bring them back to Silver Spring, where 150 families had volunteered to host them for Shabbat at his synagogue, Young Israel Shomrai Emunah. The day included a benefit concert and raised $15,000.
But then he changed his approach. Weinberg began calling relief centers in the hardest-hit areas of New York and New Jersey to find out whether they were getting what they needed. Other than gas, there was a resounding request for gift cards.
They asked, and he answered. Weinberg created a Web site where people could donate gift cards directly to relief organizations on the ground. The site, www.giftcardrelief.org, was launched Nov. 8. He hopes that this method will be a long-term solution.
“People want to give things; they want to send a truck full of stuff to those in need. There’s an emotional response that’s hard to get past,” he said. “As beautiful as sending coats and blankets is, we also have to listen to the things they might be less comfortable asking for. If that’s a Wal-Mart gift card to buy cleaning and personal-care products, that’s what we want to give them.”
‘That area is sentimental’
Gary Pendleton is an artist in North Beach, who specializes in painting en plein air, the mid-19th-century impressionist method of painting outdoors.
As president of the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association, Pendleton, 57, has built a network of more than 300 fellow artists between the Washington area and New York, many of whom live in New Jersey. They gather for exhibitions, competitions and trips to scenic points along the Eastern Seaboard several times a year. So when Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the New Jersey shore, he wanted to help.
“The storm had spared us here, for the most part,” he said. “I thought, ‘I have a connection to these people, they’d do this for me.’ ”
His association donated $1,000 to the Red Cross, and Pendleton collected coats, clothing, sleeping bags and blankets at his home. When he found out that one of his artist friends had also been collecting donations, they combined their stashes and dropped off their supplies at a warehouse in Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles were receiving contributions to send up north.
But Pendleton wanted to do something more personal, too. He turned to Facebook, where he auctioned a painting he had completed last year while visiting a friend in Cape May, N.J. Pendleton, who lives on the Chesapeake, called it “The Other Bay.”
A man in Falls Church bought the painting for $250, and the money was donated directly to the Red Cross. Pendleton then donated an extra $100.
“It’s certainly not the biggest effort out there,” he said, “but that area is sentimental for me. I wanted to give back.”
Editor’s Note: We want to hear about your relief efforts, please include your stories below in the comments section below.
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