The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Union County

February 28, 2013

Drives based in Northumberland and Lewisburg benefit Sandy victims

— NORTHUMBERLAND - What’s 10 bucks? A couple of coffees? Lunch? Two magazines? A bottle of wine on sale?

Whatever $10 means to you, try to do without and do some good for Hurricane Sandy victims still on the mend in Staten Island, N.Y., as the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Susquehanna Valley collects donations for these folks.

Don’t think $10 won’t make a difference: The Northumberland-based church wants to get a 10-spot from 1,500 folks. Now you do the math.

“I’d be happy if we raise $10,000,” said Ann Keeler Evans, UUC minister.

The church’s effort is not the only one in the Valley aimed at helping with Hurricane Sandy recovery. Mike Purcell, of Lewisburg, has one packed garage right now, a testament to the generosity of Valley residents who want to help him help the folks in New Jersey, his home state.

“My garage is stuffed. It’s just full of items,” said Purcell, owner of the Bull Run Inn and Puirseil’s Irish Pub, two popular downtown Lewisburg hangouts. “I am so grateful for all of the support, but hold off for now and call for details about future donations.”

The generosity started in November when Purcell and his family trucked down supplies donated by patrons, residents, anyone who wanted to help Sandy victims to his native Fair Haven and to Seabright.

Purcell wants to get back soon, but work and jobs and life in general are getting in the way. They won’t, however, keep him away. “For me, it really is about being a good neighbor and extending it out as far as I can,” he said.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation has been raising money — $9,000 to date — for Sandy victims ever since the storm swept the East Coast in October.

“We chose Staten Island partly because we could get to them, but also the UUC church there was a distribution center, and it wasn’t a strictly denominational involvement,” Evans said. The Rev. Susan Karlson has been the Staten Island church contact.

This latest project’s theme is “Love flows: from the rivers to the ocean, and from our hearts to yours.”

The idea began as the UUC was planning a work day for May to help out in Staten Island, but it was difficult finding work for nonprofessionally trained people, Evans said.

She and Karlson thought it would be great to host a party for the workers helping on recovery efforts, “and for those who’ve lost a lot and are working like crazy people, so they can just come and have the afternoon off.” Evans said. “It’s a gift to the people involved in recovery.”

But then Evans and Karlson thought more and decided giving a big wad of cash would be a nice thing, too.

So far, UUC has raised about $1,000 for the effort and will continue taking donations for “Love flows” up until when the members get in their cars and head to New York in May.

Donations can be made at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Susquehanna Valley in Northumberland. For information, visit www.uucsv.org.

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