PLATTSBURGH — Hurricane Sandy has put the latest North Country Mission of Hope shipment of medical equipment and hospital furnishings to Nicaragua on hold.
“The country essentially shuts down” starting in mid December until around Jan. 6 for the holiday season, said mission Executive Director Sister Debbie Blow.
If the container arrives at that time, it would be detained in customs, which would garner a charge, she said. So if the shipping ports in New Jersey are not operating as usual by mid month, the massive container of donations from the former Cedar Hedge Nursing Home will be held until January.
Meanwhile, the Plattsburgh-based humanitarian-aide organization has turned its effort to help storm victims in New Jersey as well as on Long Island and Staten Island. Mission Leadership Team member James Carlin headed an effort to collect needed items in the North Country and is now in the storm-ravaged area, distributing them.
“Our primary goal is to give hope,” Blow said. “The mission doesn’t differentiate between global and local (need).”
North Country generosity, which over just a few weeks brought in the $10,000 needed for the Nicaragua shipment, quickly shifted to hurricane relief when Mission of Hope put the word out of its effort in New York and New Jersey, Blow said.
And the organization is still accepting cash donations for the purpose; donors need to make sure to specify that is where they want them to go.
“We’re already getting it (the donations) on the ground and where it needs to go,” in hurricane-impacted areas, she said.
The Beekmantown Lyon’s Club has been assisting the Mission with that relief effort, Blow said.
The next full-scale mission to Nicaragua is scheduled for February, when the organization will see firsthand how the hospital furnishings and medical equipment recently donated by Mark and Lee Anne Lawrence, the owners of the former Cedar Hedge Nursing Home in Rouses Point, will be put to use.