KEESEVILLE — A second truck with donated supplies from the North Country will soon make its way to Highlands, N.J., to help hurricane victims.
“Their downtown was completely devastated by Hurricane Sandy,” said Tonia Finnegan of Keeseville, who is collecting donations with Dean Martin, also of Keeseville
It all started a few days after the storm, when Jennifer Smith Compagni, a high-school classmate of Finnegan and Martin at AuSable Valley Central School, sent out a plea for help via her Facebook page.
Martin saw the post and immediately began thinking of ways he could assist in the effort. He quickly enlisted the help of Finnegan.
Initially, one of the most needed items was ice. Food was spoiling left and right because of the power outages.
“Within 72 hours, we filled a truck with ice, clothes, blankets, candles, all sorts of stuff and sent down truck number one, and now we’re working on truck number two,” Finnegan said.
The first truck, driven by volunteer Cliff Sterling, arrived in Highlands at 3 a.m. Nov. 7.
“It must have been a beautiful town,” Martin said. But, “when the sun came up, you could see the devastation,” he said, referencing the many homes and businesses in the small town that were reduced to rubble by the storm.
But the donations gave the people of Highlands hope.
After they got things ready for pickup, a line formed, and within an hour, the 7,000 pounds of ice that Sterling and Martin had brought was gone, Martin said.
“They couldn’t express their thanks and gratitude enough,” Martin said.
More than a month after the the hurricane, Highlands has started to rebuild, Finnegan said, but they are in desperate need of supplies. This time around, the need is different. Instead of emergency supplies such as candles, blankets and clothes, items like household appliances and tools are needed to help with the rebuilding process, Finnegan said.