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Westport Rotary Helps Staten Island Recover From Sandy

Rotary Club of Staten Island President Joe Marchese (sixth from left with ball cap) receives a donation from Westport Sunrise Rotary member Anil Nair (fifth from left), and club and student volunteers.
Rotary Club of Staten Island President Joe Marchese (sixth from left with ball cap) receives a donation from Westport Sunrise Rotary member Anil Nair (fifth from left), and club and student volunteers. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. - When Westport Sunrise Rotary members Janis Collins and Anil Nair saw how Hurricane Sandy had devastated Staten Island, they decided they had to act.

Collins said she didn't know about damage done in Staten Island for several days after Hurricane Sandy because she had lost her power, TV and Internet. But she soon reached out to Staten Island Rotary Club President Joe Marchese to find out how her group could help.

“Joe told me that the Staten Island recovery was very disorganized. American Red Cross and FEMA were there, but it appeared that no one group was really in charge,” Collins said. “He told me supplies were piling up without a good method of distribution."

Westport Sunrise Rotary quickly approved a donation. The first check was delivered on Nov. 10 when Nair, and Westport Rotary members George Masumian and Bill Blaufuss volunteered in the Midland Beach area of Staten Island. Accompanying them were nine members of the student Rotary Club at Quinnipiac University.

The volunteers unloaded supplies at a central depot on Fr. Capodanno Boulevard in Staten Island and delivered them to various neighborhoods.

“I had been feeling helpless. I knew that by volunteering on-site and dealing directly with victims would be profound, and it was," Blaufuss said. "The situation is pitiful, the needs are beyond critical, the sadness in victims' eyes and images of the plight of these people are indelible."

To donate, visit the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club's website and click on the “Donate” button, or send a check to SR 21st Century Foundation, c/o Westport Sunrise Rotary, P.O. Box 43, Westport, CT 06881-0043, marking the check for Hurricane Sandy Relief.

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