To the Editor:
On November 16, I had the pleasure of leading a group of Mattapoisett Lions to Far Rockaway, New York, an area particularly hard-hit by hurricane Sandy. We left early in the morning with a 16-foot truck loaded up with cleaning supplies and food. Our mission was to meet up with local Lions clubs in the area, set up our tables, and serve over 50 gallons of soup and 300 hot dogs to the residents of this devastated area. At 11:45 a.m. lions met us from three different clubs in the parking lot of a rundown strip mall, which had been less than 4 feet of water during the storm. With their help, we were able to set up and begin serving hot soup in 20 minutes. Over the next 3-½ hours we served over 500 servings of soup, 300 hot dogs, 500 bottles of water and Gatorade to a nonstop line of people.
This project started about two weeks before at our monthly Board of Directors meeting where we discussed how we could help the victims of hurricane Sandy. Very quickly, we decided to bring them a hot meal, something many of them had not had since the storm. We approached area restaurants and asked if they would make hot soup for us to transport and serve. The support was amazing: Panino’s, Riccardi’s, The Oxford Creamery, The Chowder House, On the Go, Nick’s Pizza, Harriet’s Outback, and Turks all stepped up to the plate and helped provide food and supplies to feed these people. The Rochester’s Lions Club made 10 gallons of Chili, in part from donations from the New Bedford Lions Club. Individuals also came forward and gave money and supplies for our journey.
Many of the area businesses such as True Value of Fairhaven, Building 19, Target, Shaws, Stop & Shop, South Coast Medical Group, Interstate Battery of Dartmouth and Fairhaven Lumber all donated cleaning supplies and the first aid items desperately needed by the people of Far Rockaway, New York. Chase Canopy gave us any equipment; large kettles, two-burner propane stove & propane and the insulated containers to keep the soup hot while we traveled.
I want to thank the community for making this trip possible. Without the support of the restaurants and other businesses of the area we could not have done what we did. The feeling you get when you see the smile on a young boy or girl’s face and the many thank you’s from their parents is “priceless.” This was truly a community effort and we should all be proud of what we accomplished.
I think we all realized that had hurricane Sandy taken a more traditional path that could have been us.
On behalf of the members of the Mattapoisett Lions Club, I want to wish everyone a wonderful Holiday Season full of good memories and a very happy and healthy New Year.
Donald Bamberger, President
Mattapoisett Lions Club