Hundreds of donations from Minot-area residents will be distributed to victims of Hurricane Sandy after delivery of the items to the East Coast last week.
Kyle Johnson and Jay Newman with About the Father's Business drove a loaded semi-trailer truck to Staten Island, N.Y., and Asbury Park, N.J., to drop off clothing and other goods collected locally through a drive sponsored by the Minot Rotary Club and Mary Me Bridal.
The truck left Minot Dec. 3 and arrived to the recipient locations on Dec. 5. A church on Staten Island that served as an area warehouse took items such as paper towels, toilet paper, diapers and new sheets and blankets. The Minot Rotary connected with the church through the Rotary organization. The church's pastor is a member of Rotary.
Trucks belonging to About the Father’s Business of Minot and Samaritan’s Purse of South Carolina reunite in New Jersey to aid hurricane victims just over a year after working together in Minot.
A Salvation Army thrift store in New Jersey took the clothing, which refilled its dwindling supply.
"We basically packed them so full they couldn't wipe the smiles off their faces," Johnson said. "All the workers it wasn't just the manager were just ecstatic."
The store workers found it hard to believe that people 1,800 miles away would make that much effort for them, he said. The workers were excited to see looks on the faces of the delivery drivers who would be coming to begin distribution of the clothing.
Johnson, who is from the Douglas area, explained Minot's generosity by telling them of the city's flood experience.
"We went through this exact same thing a year ago, and stuff came in for our community. We are just paying it forward," he said. "It says something about a community, the year after the flood, to give to another disaster that quickly."
The clothing drive exceeded the initial expectations of Rotarians and Mary Me Bridal owner Mary Keller. They contacted About the Father's Business after determining that they were going to fill a semi with the amount of collections they were receiving. They completed the drive with a community collection after Thanksgiving in the parking lot at Slumberland.
Between the initial Rotary Club contribution, individual member contributions and contributions from the Minot Young Professionals and the Minot Kiwanis Club, funds were obtained to help pay for the shipping. ND Port Services provided a container to hold current items in until the semi became available.
Johnson said the 53-foot length of the trailer was filled with pallets of boxes stacked about 7-1/2 feet high.
Many of the boxes were delivered with tags explaining Minot's experience with a natural disaster and the desire of the community to help others in similar circumstances. Recipients are being asked to post pictures of themselves with the items and their stories on Mary Me Bridal's Facebook page.
"I hope we were a little bit more than a delivery service when we were out there. We loved on people. It put smiles on our faces in passing it on from our community to their communities," Johnson said.
One of the highlights of the trip was reconnecting with members of Samaritan's Purse. Johnson said police closed off the hurricane-damaged areas to the general public, but he and Newman were able to join the Samaritan's Purse workers in traveling into some of those communities. Although reminscent of Minot, victims of this disaster were hauling sand off their properties back to cordoned-off beaches where it came from, Johnson said.
Samaritan's Purse had assisted in Minot following the flood, using First Assembly of God Church as its base. The Christian relief organization parked its truck in the church lot and proved to be a good resource for About the Father's Business, the fledgling mission of First Assembly of God. About the Father's Business has made mission trips to Minneapolis and Mexico with truckloads of donations and found work to do locally after the flood.
Later this month, About the Father's Business plans to light up the truck and take carolers through town, handing out candy canes.