On the morning of Saturday, November 10, Brothers Ben Kaminski, Eric Jacisin, and Tim Borowski departed Buffalo. The were followed shortly after by W:. Jim Mirusso of Living Stone Lodge with yet another vehicle. This small convoy was headed for the downstate New York area in vehicles laden down with much needed supplies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Thanks to their efforts, as well as organizational prowess of Brother John Budowski, two pickups and trailers, as well as a van, were loaded to capacity with clothing, diapers, cleanup supplies, nonperishable food, and numerous other necessities. The brothers that went brought back stories that I can only describe as humbling. I need not tell most of you of the dire situation in that area, and Bro. Kaminski informed me that things were even worse across the river. Nearly all of the supplies went to a relief center, with the remainder going to a brother in need that lost the first floor of his home to the flooding.
But don't take my word for it, Bro Jacisin sums it up better than I could ever hope to:
Imagine arriving at a collection site after dark with 50 cases of donated cereal from General Mills. We got help from NYPD to unload the cereal. By the time we parked the empty vehicles the cereal was moved into the production line and half was gone. Imagine bumping into a small little girl clutching a box of Luck Charms that you had just delivered. She was so happy to have her favorite cereal again even though she had NO milk and no home to go back to to eat it, but she had HER Lucky Charms DAMN IT!! It damn near brought me to my knees. We gave at least one person a glimmer of hope in that "crater." The street was filled with people because their home are all condemned and they have nowhere to go yet.
With that, I just wanted to thank EVERYONE that contributed, and there are so many of you. Special thanks go out to General Mills for their gracious donation of fifty cases of cereal, and V:. W:. John Allen of Tompkins Lodge #471 for opening his home to our brothers for the weekend.
That being said, if anyone is still looking to contribute, we are coordinating further relief efforts in conjunction with Mariners Lodge. We will be passing the hat at the upcoming communication. If anyone would like to contribute that will not be attending, please contact any officer of Harmonie, and we will see that your donations make it to those who need it most.