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kids in front of a truck being loaded up with donations for sandy victims Young volunteers help out at the Star 92.9 "Fill a Truck" event in Burlington, Vermont. (Photo courtesy Cheryl Guilette/Lowells Moving Company)

Vermont Helps Its Neighbors

Businesses and individuals donate money, food to Sandy recovery

By Rebecca Berlind | January 15 , 2013

In 2011, Vermont was hit hard by Hurricane Irene. So after Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of New York, New Jersey, and New England, residents in Vermont knew their neighbors would need some help.

Gardeners Supply Company (GSC), a local mail-order company that also has stores in both Burlington and Williston, held a fundraiser for Sickles Market of Little Silver, New Jersey. This small produce market lost everything in the storm and several employees lost their homes as well. GSC store manager, Pat Pearsall, is friends with the owner of Sickles and led GSC's effort to raise more than $2,000 in a "Give Forward" campaign to help the market get back on its feet.

The Vermont ski industry pitched in, too. Parker Riehle, president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, wanted to help others who had helped them after Irene hit. After Sandy, the Association launched "Operation Mountains of Love," a fundraiser for the Red Cross, It's being marketed online and at industry events.

Another effort by Vermonters to help with Sandy recovery was set up by Star 92.9, a popular radio station in Burlington. Star 92.9 partnered with Lowell's Moving and Delivery, a local moving company from Williston to organize a "Fill a Truck" event.

"I can't sit still," Mary Cenci, of the "Mike and Mary in the Morning" show, said. "Mike and I were talking and trying to figure out what to do. Then we talked to Lowell's and they have the truck and we have the resources. So we put it together and it's the perfect storm of help."

All donations went to CUMAC ECHO, an urban mission of the United Methodist Church based in Paterson, New Jersey. CUMAC is one of the largest food distribution programs in northern New Jersey, feeding about 2,600 needy people every month.

"CUMAC was so happy to receive the 28,000 pound donation from Vermont," Besany Ames, the volunteer coordinator of CUMAC said. CUMAC is also working with other agencies to distribute food, and household needs.

Ames went on to say that other organizations, in other states, have followed Vermont's lead in making generous contributions.

"Our friends are going through something that Vermont knows all too well," Riehle said. "When Irene hit us last year, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut rallied to support Vermont. They had our backs. Now, it's our turn to rally for them and we want them to know we have their backs as they do the difficult work of bouncing back."

You can share your Hurricane Sandy experiences and find more coverage of the storm and its aftermath on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog.

HURRICANE SANDY RECOVERY SPECIAL REPORT
 
Find out how kids across the country are helping the Hurricane Sandy relief effort — and catch up with the Kid Reporters' on-the-ground reporting during the storm — in the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Special Report.

NEWS FOR KIDS, BY KIDS

Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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