Woodstockers collect $15,000 for Phoenicia

Woodstockers pull together relief efforts. (Photo by Dion Ogust“As soon as power was restored Friday morning,” said Woodstock resident Kerry Cubas, “I called up our supervisor, Jeff Moran. I was at first dismayed and then almost outraged to learn that the town had no intention of helping our Phoenicia neighbors. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I called the Phoenicia supervisor, Rob Stanley, to ascertain their needs and to find an already established 501c3 so we could take monies in.”

Cubas, who lost her husband in the September 11 attacks, learned from that experience that relief donations, when channeled through large, non-local agencies, often do not wind up in the hands of the people who need them. “It’s glaringly apparent that the way to help a community is to keep things local,” she said. “So I found the Phoenicia Rotary, spoke with their president, Ken Jacobs, and called back to Jeff Moran, who agreed to allow me to set up a collection stand in front of the old town hall. I wanted that location and the town’s sanction so it would lend credibility. We were a motley crew out there collecting.”

Spreading word through Facebook that she needed volunteers, Cubas stood out on the double yellow line of Tinker Street. The first day, she was the only one collecting, but Saturday and Sunday volunteers gathered to help. “I was really determined to capitalize on the holiday tourist traffic,” she said. “That proved to be a good idea. They were quite generous, as were many of the local people.”

Among the dollar bills still to be counted on her kitchen table on Monday, Cubas had “a guitar pick, a dog tag, a safety pin, and some pocket lint. People were literally digging into their pockets. It was such a beautiful outpouring. Some people were almost in tears because they only had a few coins, people who have fallen hard times and wished they could give more. It really ran the gamut. There was one incredibly generous donation.”


Having collected over $15,000, Cubas has joined the Phoenicia Rotary and is now working with Jacobs and other members to “assess the needs of the community while simultaneously networking to find out what kinds of goods and service we can be buying at cost to really stretch that money.”

Meanwhile, Cubas cannot afford to hire someone to cut up the tree that the storm knocked down across her driveway. “I’m looking for some nice guy with a chainsaw who’s not looking to capitalize on a disaster.”++