As Thanksgiving approaches and many on Long Island are facing the holidays for the first time without their homes or basic necessities after Hurricane Sandy ripped through the area, locals and even those across state lines have banded together to help.
St. Mark the Evangelist Church in North Bellmore has been a satellite donation center for the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and Monday morning they gave away Thanksgiving baskets filled with food to local families in need.
“It’s anonymously done,” says Ann McPartlin, head of the vestry and one of the organizers of the charitable programs at the church. “We know who they are, but we don’t say who they are.”
While collecting food donations at the church in the days immediately after Sandy, McPartlin says those affected by Sandy, were among the donators.
“A woman came with a lot of food to donate and we asked how she was doing,” says McPartlin. “She lost the first floor of her house, but she said she has a second floor and a lot of people don’t have anything so she wanted to help them.”
McPartlin says the church has not only received donations from locals, but from some who live thousands of miles away. In fact, in just a few days, McPartlin is expecting an overnight guest this week, one whom she’s never met, or even spoken with on the phone.
“This woman from Maine, her church wanted to help so we said if you can arrange to have [the donations] shipped, we’ll make sure they’re distributed to the people in need,” says McPartlin. “Well she decided to drive them herself so we’re going to have a supper for her and then she’s going to stay at my house because she’s going to her son’s in New Jersey for Thanksgiving but she doesn’t want to drive at night in the dark.”
The church is also expecting a delivery from California. Two girls, ages 10 and 12 and a half held a drive a their school for Sandy victims and packed up 20 boxes of winter coats, blankets and other supplies that are coming via UPS, along with letters from students offering encouragement and words of hope.
“All these inspiring things happen,” says McPartlin. “You tend to read in the paper all these people who are punching each other on gas lines but there the vast majority obviously are really good, decent people who are willing to help—from all over the country. It’s really amazing.”
The church, located at 1692 Bellmore Ave. in North Bellmore, is currently accepting donations of blankets, winter coats, children’s clothes, baby supplies, cleaning supplies, toiletries. Before you drop off, please call McPartlin at 516-383-9969 for that day’s drop off hours.