Bristol real estate office helps with hurricane relief

Some of the many volunteers who supported the effort to collect donated goods for people hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy gathered at the Exit Harborside Realty office on State Street last week to fill two large box trucks with collected items. Some of the many volunteers who supported the effort to collect donated goods for people hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy gathered at the Exit Harborside Realty office on State Street last week to fill two large box trucks with collected items.

Volunteers fill one of two box trucks with donations to help those hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Lisa Foster was hoping to fill a pickup truck with donated goods for people hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. She ended up needing two large box trucks from a nearby furniture company to move all the collected items.

“We were amazed at the outpouring of donations,” Ms. Foster said. “I was shocked. Speechless.”

Ms. Foster said she first had the idea of organizing a donation drive after watching the news reports of the hard-hit New York and New Jersey communities.

“I just kept seeing it on the news. It bothered me. I just wanted to do something for these families,” she said.

She added a post to her facebook page, asking people to bring warm clothes to her real estate office, Exit Harborside in Bristol, and she would truck them up to Lincoln. From there, a group of volunteers planned to bring the goods to New York.

Her facebook message spread like wildfire and people from across the East Bay and beyond started showing up at Ms. Foster’s office with items in tow.

“We started off with clothing, packaged undergarments. We got tons of baby formula. People brought diapers. Somebody donated a huge box of ibuprofen cold medicine. We had hats, scarfs, toothbrushes … a ton of winter coats and boots,” she said.

“I started this on Sunday night at 11. I sent a text asking if I could use a little space in the office for people to drop off donations. It went from a little spot to overtaking our whole office,” Ms. Foster said, adding that the donations filled — from floor to ceiling — the office’s conference room.

A subcontractor for Cardi’s Furniture offered to help transport the items, and initially expected to bring just one box truck. That changed after the truck driver noticed the amount of goods waiting at the office.

“I had people calling from North Kingstown, Jamestown, all over the state. The phone wouldn’t stop ringing,” Ms. Foster said.

Volunteers loaded the trucks late last week; the goods went to a distribution center in Queens and later to the community of Breezy Point.

Ms. Foster said she’s still receiving calls from people who want to donate. She said she’s directing people to the Cardi’s website, which also organized a donation drive.

“Right now, yes, I’m stepping aside. This took a week of my time,” she said. “I was here at 8 in the morning staying til 11 at night with the other girls in the office.”

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