2017-09-07 / Other News

St. Bernard Church Provides Goods For Texas-bound Mission Of Mercy

By Dara Mormile

Goods being forklifted into trailer truck. Goods being forklifted into trailer truck. Hundreds of thousands of Texas residents whose lives were destroyed by Hurricane Harvey may never get their lives back 100 percent. Fortunately, organizations all over the country - and local houses of worship - are doing their part to provide assistance and much-needed supplies to devastated areas.

Last week, a family of parishioners at St. Bernard Church, 2055 East 69th Street, organized a drive to collect non-perishable items that will be transported and distributed to churches in Texas via a 53-foot long trailer truck on 90 skids (mobile wooden platforms on which heavy items are placed and lifted).

The trailer truck was parked outside of Veteran’s Avenue near East 70th Street - where parishioner Christopher Iandolo, who organized the drive, and his brother Jeremy Iandolo hustled to get skids of water, baby supplies and other emergency items forklifted into the huge trailer. Their aunt - and fellow parishioner - Annmarie DeAngelo, told the Canarsie Courier that there was no question about generating this drive and finding resources to start the collection of goods, which began on Friday, September 1st.

“Parishioners are popping in and out, lending a hand,” she said. “They’re bringing children’s and adult clothes, pet supplies, household goods and toiletries. It’s amazing and heartwarming to see how many people are pitching in.”

Hundreds of bags of donations came in Saturday afternoon as residents and passersby brought a slew of goods - including random items like children’s books and cleaning supplies.

The family also called on organizations like the Knights of Columbus, nearby churches and other volunteers to assist with the mission. By handing out flyers and asking residents to spread the word to their neighbors, they’ve received an overwhelming response - and it seemed they couldn’t fill the truck fast enough as supplies came pouring in.

Children as young as five years old also helped out with relief efforts over the weekend, lending a hand by separating items into various categories and helping assemble cardboard boxes that would contain hundreds of bags of non-perishable goods.

Many businesses in the area even stepped up to do their part, as Mega Auto Transporters provided the trailer truck and a volunteer driver will be hauling supplies to the Southwest as soon as the truck is filled to capacity. Credit was also given to the Canarsie Terminal Market, D&H Pallets and a team known by the community as “The Christmas Guys.”

DeAngelo said Catholic Charities has advised the family which churches in Texas are half-way underwater, which ones are accessible for donations and ones that need the most help.

“The driver will bring the donations to certain churches closest to the disaster areas and they’ll be distributed from there,” she said.

The nearly 1,800 mile trip is scheduled to take a maximum of three days - or a minimum of 30 hours - with brief stops.

DeAngelo said, “We’re hoping the driver can head out of the city by the beginning of the week. As of this weekend, the truck is almost a quarter full.”

When it comes to surviving natural disasters, the Bergen Beach community is no stranger to rebuilding and helping each other.

“We were part of Hurricane Sandy,” said DeAngelo. “We know what it’s like to be in that place needing help.”

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