Local resident organizes hurricane relief

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By Geoff Samuels
In an effort to help the residents of Brooklyn who were badly battered by Hurricane Sandy, Michael Di Benedetto, owner of Halcott Centers’ Vly Mountain Spring Water, said he and his family are offering to collect several truckloads of much-needed relief supplies and transport them down to that area.

In a phone interview with the News, Di Benedetto said he got the idea for his relief effort when he was listening to a program called “Democracy Now” on WIOX, the Roxbury radio station. “I thought there was an opportunity to do some good,” he said, “People like you and I can say, ‘I can spare this thing’.” Di Benedetto said he made a lot of calls, and finally came up with a community center in Brooklyn called the Red Hook Initiative, at 767 Hicks Street, as a place where he could bring the relief supplies. From there they would be distributed to the surrounding neighborhoods most in need.

Di Benedetto told his niece Elena that if she would be the organizer, he would drive his truck back and forth to make the deliveries. “As soon as we have a full truckload,” he said, “I’ll drive it down, and if I’m busy delivering spring water that day, my son Kane will do it.” Di Benedetto stressed that he couldn’t do this without the help of his family and that other folks from the area have already been delivering relief supplies to those in need.

The donations will first be stockpiled in two locations; Now & Then Video store on Route 28 in Margaretville, and the Halcott Grange Hall at 264 Route 3 in Halcott Center. Then they will be loaded onto one of Di Benedettos’ box trucks for the trip to Brooklyn. The items mostly needed include things like blankets and canned foods.

Although the date for the first trip is not yet certain, Di Benedetto hopes that he’ll have enough donations to fill up his truck before the end of this week so he can make the first trip. For more information, contact Elena Di Benedetto at 254-4009 or elenamdib89@yahoo.com.

Where have all the gas cans gone?
In related news, the gas shortage in downstate New York and New Jersey has apparently caused a gas can shortage in this area! Sherry West at Brookside Hardware in Margaretville said that their supply of gas cans was sold out days ago. “All I’ve heard over the weekend is, ‘Have you got any gas cans?, have you got any gas cans?” adding, “I’ve seen vehicles driving down that were just loaded with anything that can contain a liquid.”

Jason Wadler of Wadler Bros. in Fleischmanns said that they had sold out all their gas cans last week and had ordered another 12 to be delivered Friday morning thinking that would be enough. “We were sold out again by noon” he laughed.

Kim Archibald at the Margaretville Country Store (Sunoco station) told the same story; they had sold out whatever cans they had. “I don’t think you could find a gas can anywhere in the county” she said, It’s been like that the whole weekend……I saw a guy the other day with a dozen cans in his pickup truck.”