Merrimack Pulling Together to Help Hurricane Victims
Merrimack Fire Department, local businesses and residents pooling resources to send aid to Long Island.
Merrimack is no stranger to power outages that lead to refrigerators full of spoiled food, flooding that leads to lengthy cleanup, but it's safe to say most residents of Merrimack have experienced only part of what residents of New Jersey and New York are facing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Seeing a need for continued assistance as residents of theses states are still facing a lengthy clean up, members of the Professional Firefighters of Merrimack teamed up with P&L Landscaping to kick off a supplies drive to bring much-needed help to Hurricane Sandy victims in the area of Long Island. Donations are still being accepted between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. At P&L Landscaping.
On Sunday, a small group of Merrimack Firefighters spent the better part of their day standing outside a landscaping trailer donated by P&L to fill with cleaning supplies, toiletries and more for a trip to our southern neighbors.
On Sunday, Firefighter Kevin Chambers said the Professional Firefighters have been working with the Merrimack Chamber of Commerce for a few months and he reached out to Executive Director Den Courtemanche to see if there were any collections being run in town after they been contacted several times already by residents trying to find local ways to help.
Hearing there were none, Chambers decided to use the Department as a collection point for a good will offering of supplies, food and more.
“We said, you know what, we'll do it. We'll see what we can do,” Chambers said.
Chambers said he and several other members of the Merrimack Fire Department have family living in very hard hit parts of New York and they'd be sending their support that way.
Chambers said he was trying to connect with a cousin who lives on Long Island, whose firehouse was decimated by the hurricane, to see if they could coordinate an effort, but just being in touch with friends and family is not an easy task for some people right now.
“We're going to make sure it all gets where it needs to go,” Chambers said.
Eric Brand, owner of P&L Landscaping said for him it wasn't a familial connection, but a genuine wish to try to make life easier for those who continue to live without power and face a massive cleanup ahead.
“I like to be involved in a lot of community efforts in trying to help others,” Brand said.
So, as president of the Chamber's Board of Directors, Brand decided he would help fill a need when he heard the fire department was going to be a drop off point. He donated a landscaping trailer and he and some of his staff offered to drive the trailer and any other trucks they may be able to fill down to New York.
Brand said it's cold and getting colder in New York and people are literally having to dig through feet of sand to start unburying their possessions and homes. And having experienced first hand what it's like to be without power for days at a time, Brand said it was the least he could do.
“I'm just trying to do something nice to help others,” Brand said.
By 2 p.m. on Sunday's collection day at the central fire station, Chambers said they'd had a couple dozen donors with drop offs ranging in size from a few cleaning supplies and canned goods, to boxes full of whatever people could afford. Some things, like pet food and warm clothing could get handed off to more specific collections around the area to make sure those items get where they are most needed as well.
“The important thing is we're getting these items to people in need,” Chambers said, noting that some of the clothing dropped off could go to local Salvation Army the MFD Works with.
People who would like to donate to this drive, a list can be found here of items needed.
Those items can be dropped of at P&L Landscaping, 79 Daniel Webster Highway on Wednesday and Thursday during regular business hours from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. On Friday, Brand and others will hit the road to New York, trailer in tow, for a special delivery.