Ulster residents rally around post-storm relief efforts

Ulster County Sheriff’s Office personnel helping out. (photo courtesy Frank Faluotico)

In the wake of last week’s weather event now known as “Superstorm Sandy,” everyone wants to help, but many don’t know where to start, or the best ways to pitch in. Last year, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office received a four-wheel drive GMC dual-wheel pickup used during last year’s storms Irene and Lee’s clean-up stage free of charge from the military through a federal program. On Thursday, the sheriff’s office received a plea for assistance from the state Emergency Operation Center on behalf of the Long Beach Police Department in Nassau County. The police down there were requesting patrol vehicles, since most of theirs were lost to salt water and sand. Undersheriff Frank Faluotico, Sgt. Perry Soule and Deputy Brandon Bergenn delivered the vehicle to Long Beach Police Department Commissioner Michael Tangney, who immediately deployed it. Ulster personnel also met with state police Capt. Pierce Gallagher to tour the devastated areas.

Faluotico described streets filled with six to eight feet of sand — in some spots as high as 25 feet — and garages filled with six feet of sand.


“Walking through Irene last year and looking at what they’re going through,” said Faluotico, “They had sand and we had mud. We had to get mud out of the houses, but sand is so minute that it’s going to take forever to clean up. It’s everywhere.”

Faluotico added that local food pantries are nearly out of food, and reminded that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, citing Shandaken and Woodstock food pantries specifically in immediate need.

Ashokan Service Unit Girl Scout Troop 60059 is gathering a large collection of supplies to send to Staten Island and is calling for contributions. “Many homes are salvageable but recovery time is limited due to cold, wet weather rolling in fast,” said Sierra Smith, assistant leader. “With so many affected homes, local stores are wiped clear of supplies that they need, quickly.” Troop leader Laura Beckwith said that the troop’s former leader, Margaret Harkin, lives in Staten Island and will help distribute the donated items, saying that the Scouting parents have reached out, wanting to help. “[Harkin’s] house is fine as she is in the middle of Staten Island, but the area around her is really bad,” said Beckwith. “I was concerned she got evacuated because I didn’t know where her house was, but she’s fine.” Beckwith said that drop-off points in Staten Island are being chosen online at statenisland.recovers.org.

There is one comment

  1. Lissa Harris

    Daniel Cook may have the best of intentions, but he should check with the Red Cross before sending them thousands of pairs of socks. The Red Cross does not accept socks, clothing or goods of any kind.

    Goods donations after a crisis often become a disaster in their own right, straining volunteer organizations and presenting huge logistical challenges that distract from the work of recovery. This happened locally during Irene, and it is happening now in the aftermath of Sandy. In most cases, money is by far the best thing to give. We wrote about this issue on the Watershed Post recently:


    Also, from the Red Cross website:

    “Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel.

    The Red Cross does accept bulk quantities of product and services when these items meet our service delivery needs. These donations typically come from manufacturers, suppliers, and/or distributors that can package the items in bulk, palletize them and transport them directly to Red Cross sites. Financial contributions allow the Red Cross to purchase exactly what is needed for a disaster relief operation. Monetary donations also enable the Red Cross to purchase relief supplies close to the disaster site which avoids delays and transportation costs in getting basic necessities to disaster victims. Because the affected community has generally experienced significant economic loss, purchasing relief supplies in or close to the disaster site also helps to stimulate the weakened local economy.”

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