Editors Note: Today begins with a way to show love for humanity – our fellow citizens – in their darkest hours.
As I write this note, it is a beautiful, crisp Sunday morning in Saratoga Springs. As it was on the morning of August 22, 1992 – we were headed to Bicentennial Park in Miami. For Lollapalooza – a tremendous lineup – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ministry, Ice Cube, Soundgarden, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Pearl Jam, Lush. I remember thinking “We NEVER get days like this in August…” Indeed the low humidity was remarkable. What we didn’t know at the time (remember, no smart phones, etc. – 1992) was that all the moisture was wanted elsewhere.
By the monster that was just offshore. Gathering strength and size – sucking up every bit of liquid in the atmosphere. Preparing to return it all, with Nuclear intensity.
We had heard some things about ‘another tropical storm blah, blah blah’ but we danced that day – for we just knew with smugness that these things never hit South Florida – always veering off one way or another, or petering out. Miami’s nickname was “The Magic City” and indeed, it was on that day. But not the next day. Nor, for the days of darkness, the days of suffering and pain and thirst and despair to follow. Miami’s Magic, and the State of Florida’s luck was about to run out.
As it is running out today, at 8:00 a.m. on a beautiful Sunday in Saratoga Springs. The eye of another monster – Irma – is about to slam into Key West and then, God knows where.
On the way back from Lollapalooza, we didn’t need the radio, we had our cassettes of our favorite alt bands. I dropped my friends off in Ft. Lauderdale, and went to visit a woman who I was dating at the time – a talk-show host, who really wanted to see the Chili’s, but couldn’t get out of work… The “On the Air” light went out, and I walked in her studio.
I didn’t get a word out. She just looked at me with big, big eyes – said nothing, just pointed to her TV monitor screen. I looked, and gasped.
“My God! It’s bigger than the State!” Much bigger.
In fact, we in Broward County did have a measure of luck, for Andrew had been modelled to reach land at the County line, but veered South about 40 miles and obliterated Homestead and Perrine, two places where many farm workers in inadequate housing structures lived. Needless to say, those structures were turned into toothpicks. As was Homestead Air Force Base, which you figured could survive a pretty strong attack…
Not this one. Leveled.
The company I worked for at the time organized a relief force, and, because I had a commercial license (and a working grasp of ‘Spanglish’) at the time, drove relief trucks for the days and nights to follow, in conjunction with the American Red Cross. It was an ITW mission: Go to the Red Cross depot – load with Ice, Towels, and Water. That’s it. Over and over again, to Homestead and back. In that day, forget GPS – it would have probably been wiped out anyway.
How about this – forget street signs! In many cases, forget streets! I soon learned the route so well, I could drive it in my sleep. What kept me going was the adrenaline derived from the gratitude of people, the tearful ‘gracias’ from American citizens who were turned into refugees in their own land.
Never, never think that what you can do today – now matter how small, no matter over how long a distance, will not make a difference.
Below is all the information you need to just do just that. For today is a beautiful day in Saratoga Springs, but it’s not beautiful elsewhere on Planet Earth today.
#WeGive2Trucks Shows Concern for Hurricane Victims
Local supply drive and volunteer mission to assist in recovery efforts from Harvey and Irma
The Capital Region has always been known for its spirit of community, especially during times of need. Now, under the lead of The Giving Circle, a Saratoga-based, volunteer-operated non-profit organization, local residents are lending their energy and support behind an effort that will hopefully help hundreds in hurricane ravaged areas down south.
From Sunday, September 10 through Tuesday, September 12, a massive supply drive called #WeGive2Trucks is being held to benefit two of the hardest hit areas from recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The goal of the collection effort, which is the result of The Giving Circle and several businesses and community members rallying together, will be to fill two 53-foot tractor trailers, generously donated by Trans-Border Global Freight Systems.
Items will be collected and sorted at the old Ryder Warehouse located at 240 Excelsior Ave. in Saratoga Springs (Drop off times below, supply list attached to separate email), and then loaded onto the trucks for their final destinations. Volunteers from The Giving Circle will divide and conquer, driving the two trailers to Texas and Florida to distribute the items from volunteer centers. The supplies will aid in the recovery efforts in both areas, providing essentials for building projects, and necessities for victims and volunteers.
The Giving Circle and those who support it are no strangers to the challenges faced by communities left in the path of a hurricane. After Katrina in 2005 and Rita in 2012, The Giving Circle organized two highly successful volunteer efforts to assist victims, specializing in gutting, cleaning and reconstructing flooded structures, and distributing necessities to those most in need. They also stepped in after Sandy and Irene.
Mark Bertrand, Founder of The Giving Circle, said, “We’ve been through these recovery efforts before, and we’re always amazed by people who just come from everywhere to help. We started out wanting to fill one truck for Texas, and then when Irma came up, Trans-Border donated another trailer without any hesitation. It’s just incredible.”
Bertrand says he can’t believe people just step in and do what is needed to be done during “times like these.” With so many moving parts, he says Giving Circle projects are always the perfect execution of the phrase “It takes a village.” The hashtag and communications plan, created and donated by Fingerpaint, were produced almost as quickly as the idea unfolded, and volunteers began pouring in instantly.
Bertrand will be heading back down to Texas in the coming days with a team of volunteers, as well as working on assembling a group to help in Florida once they have time to assess the damage from Irma.
Most importantly, Bertrand says that these items being collected through #WeGive2Trucks are definitely needed, and items not found on the list cannot be accepted.
“We can’t take anything that is going to take up additional space or collect mold or become a sanitary issue,” said Bertrand. “These items that will be on the trucks are going to be the most immediate things they need to begin rebuilding again.”
***Please, no clothing, toys or stuffed animals at this time***
***All items must be new***
Drop off location: 240 Excelsior Ave, Saratoga Springs
Sunday, September 10, 1 to 5 p.m
Monday, September 11, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tuesday, September 12, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Extremely important supplies
Plastic storage totes with lids
Construction size trash bags
Large ziploc bags
High quality rubber gloves
Shovels with long handles
Construction hand tools
Sheetrock knives and blades
Non Perishable Food Items
Cereal, Individual, 10 pack
Sealed Tuna Packs
Cereal full boxes
Ready made meals
Mac and cheese
Canned hearty meals
New pet food and supplies
Personal Care and Paper Products
Towels and washcloths
Diapers, size 2-6
Tooth Brushes and floss
Shampoo (15 oz size only)
Hand sanitizer (8 oz only)
Generator – DuroMax XP4400E 4,400 Watt
Flashlights with batteries, 2 ct
Batteries (AAA, AA, C and D)
New Board Games
New hard surface dolls and action figures (not cloth)
Filled backpacks—all kinds of school supplies are needed
First Aid Kits
Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen
Handheld can openers
Gift Cards for the following stores:
Below is a flier to print and share with the same needed items:
September 10, 2017