LAKE PLACID - Tri-Lakes residents and business owners are doing what they can to help hurricane victims downtown and in New Jersey.
Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast last week, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power for days, shutting down public transportation systems and destroying homes and businesses.
Socks for Sandy
Marc Galvin, co-owner of the Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid, and Keela Rogers display some of the socks that were collected for Hurricane Sandy victims. A shipment of more than 1,000 brand-new pairs of socks was sent to New York City last week.
Amy Quinn of Lake Placid helped organize a local effort to supply new socks to people impacted by Sandy. On Thursday, she launched a "Socks for Sandy" page on Facebook. By mid-afternoon Monday, the group had collected more than 1,000 pairs of new socks, and the shipment was already on its way to New York City to be distributed.
Quinn, a runner who competed in the New York City Marathon in 2010, said she had planned to participate in the marathon this year but had to withdraw in September because of injury issues. She said she loves the marathon but was upset that race officials and city leaders originally intended to hold the event despite the devastation caused by Sandy.
"I was so personally disgusted when the marathon came right out of the box the day after the storm with a real 'the show must go on' attitude," Quinn said. "I was just so angry, and I just felt like I needed to do something because people on the news were hysterical in Staten Island, where they stage this 47,000-person race from."
Quinn said she decided to collect socks because they are a tangible item for people to donate.
"Not one pair of socks in that box was cotton," she said. "Every single pair was probably a $20 pair of hiking or ski socks."
She added that cotton socks were collected because they were needed as well, and that all donations are greatly appreciated.
Quinn said she is keeping tabs on what people need in and around communities like Staten Island, Rockaway and Brooklyn. She said Facebook groups have been launched in those communities, and they're being updated constantly with suggested donations.
"I'm trying to determine exactly what the needs are, and they change minute to minute," Quinn said. "I think the next need, to be frank, is for people to go down there and help."
Quinn said she made personal connections with two local groups - Rebuild Staten Island and Staten Island Strong - which will help distribute the socks.
Businesses help out
Local businesses in Saranac Lake are trying to raise $5,000 to purchase a truckload full of non-perishable food to bring to victims of the storm. The effort is being organized by Jacob Stanbro of Nonna Fina restaurant.
"The reason behind it is because, I thought, this very well could have been us," he told the Enterprise Monday. "These are our neighbors, friends, family members, our customers and our guests. A lot of our tourism comes from that area. It's the right thing to do."
Stanbro hiked up and down Main Street over the weekend and raised roughly $2,000 from more than two dozen businesses. Nonna Fina will also donate 100 percent of the money the restaurant makes on Friday to the relief effort. Stanbro said that could be as much as $1,500.
To get local residents to contribute, Stanbro is also organizing a "Shopping Day" on Wednesday, where people will be encouraged to shop at local businesses that will donate a percentage of the day's sales to victims of the storm. Participating businesses will display a flyer in their window.
As of Monday afternoon, Stanbro said the following businesses had agreed to take part: Saranac Lake Discount Liquor, Main Street Exchange and Dorsey Street Exchange, T.F. Finnigan, Goody Goody's, Two Horse Trading Company, Major Plowshares, Eco Living and Adirondack Trading Company.
Local bars and restaurants are also helping out, Stanbro said. Casa Del Sol and the Waterhole will donate a percentage of their sales on Thursday to the relief effort; Left Bank Cafe and Nonna Fina will do so on Friday, Stanbro said. Other businesses or restaurants that want to participate can stop at Nonna Fina to pick up a flyer or call the restaurant at 518-891-4444, Stanbro said.
Stanbro is also hoping to capitalize on the amount of traffic coming in and out of the Harrietstown Town Hall for today's election. He'll man a table in front Rice Furniture, collecting donations.
All the money raised will be used to purchase non-perishable goods from an Albany food distributor. Rice Furniture has agreed to donate the use of one of its box trucks to go to Albany to pick up the food, then deliver it to New York City.
"We were happy to help out with that and to get the food where it's needed," said Rice Furniture co-owner Barbara Rice.
Other local residents have been working to help storm victims in recent days. John Muldowney of Saranac Lake and his daughter Suzanne Nicholas have been collecting clothing to bring to people in the Freeport, Long Island area, where Muldowney is originally from and where Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake firefighters were stationed during a deployment last week. Muldowney's son Keegan, a Lake Placid police officer, has been working on storm cleanup in the Freeport area for the last few says, along with other members of his family.
The L.P. Quinn Elementary School library will collect books to send south to replace ones that Sandy victims lost.
"The kids are excited about that," librarian Rebecca Buerkett told the Tupper Lake Central School District Board of Education at their regularly scheduled meeting.
Jessica Collier contributed
to this report.