When storms Lee and Irene slammed upstate New York last year, outside help made a difference for a lot of people.
And now, having dodged Sandy’s worst, area residents are pitching in to help those who bore the brunt of the storm’s fury in New York City and other downstate areas.
“Today has just been a whirlwind of people stopping by with donations,” said Crystal Artis of Sidney.
Artis is working with Sue Darling of Oneonta to collect relief items. Darling is collecting items at the office of Century 21 Chesser Realty at 416 Chestnut St. in Oneonta and bringing them to Artis’ garage on Bridge Street in Sidney.
Their effort grew from an exchange on Facebook about supplies that people had accumulated in advance of Hurricane Sandy, fearing that it would do to the region what Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee did last year.
“We all went out, and we bought supplies in anticipation of the power outages and flooding” that didn’t happen this time, Darling said. “We might as well put them to good use.”
She suggested that people find someplace to donate the unused storm supplies.
“Sue had actually posted that morning on Facebook, just basically telling people, ‘You overbought. Find an organization and donate it,’” Artis said.
“I took it a step further and said, ‘Why wait for an organization to ask?’”
Artis offered to take the unused items and then find someone to take them.
The two women have had several offers to transport the goods to the New York City region, one from Frito-Lay, Artis said, and also from Birnie Bus Service in Oneonta, where Dave Hildebrand, a retired New York City police officer, is terminal manager.
“I reached out to Sue and saw that she was looking for somebody to do it (transport the collected items), so, with the approval of corporate, I offered our services to her,” he said.