According to John Wolcott, it was Ocean State Transit bus driver Michele Shull who spurred the decision to organize a school bus caravan with blankets, batteries, coats and food to New York City and coastal New Jersey on Saturday.
"I want to help," Shull said to Wolcott and others at the East Greenwich OST bus yard on South County Trail.
For Wolcott, a new OST driver but a longtime EG Rotarian, that was a green light.
"You tell a Rotarian you want to do something and you unleash a tiger," said Wolcott.
Or rather, some yellow buses. That's the plan on Saturday, when several school buses loaded with supplies for those who have been hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy, will head out from Rhode Island.
Deb Murphy, yard manager for OST in East Greenwich, quickly jumped on board with the idea, according to Wolcott.
"Deb got the powers that be to provide the buses and fuel," said Wolcott. Drivers volunteered to drive the buses on Saturday. Then area churches stepped up.
The First Baptist Church of EG gave $500 for supplies; the Russian Pentecostal Church of EG gave $1,000. Others donated after the orginal word got out, including St. Luke's Episcopal Church, which gave $500.
Wolcott said donations are being accepted at three sites in East Greenwich: First Baptist (from 9 a.m. to noon), United Methodist Church (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), and the OST bus yard, behind Richard's Pub on South County Trail (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
"It's time to move," said Wolcott.
Interested in donating? Send a (tax-deductible) check to "East Greenwich Rotary Charitable Fund," EG Rotary, P.O. Box 222, E.G., RI 02818. Checks received after the trip will be forwarded to the Salvation Army coordinator in New York to purchase food vouchers for neighbors as he sees fit. If you want to purchase items for the buses, below is a list of the items most in need.
- canned food
- bottled water
- baby food
- baby formula
- children's clothing (new or gently used)
- toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.)
- coats (adult and child sizes, new or gently used)
- cleaning supplies (mops, brooms, etc.)
- heavy-duty trash bags
- batteries (especially C & D)
- manual can openers (remember, no electricity!)
- battery-operated warmers