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'Loads of Love' being collected for Staten Island

Items will be trucked from Morris to NYC on Thursday

Becky Siegel has never been to Staten Island, N.Y.

The Morris resident also has no ties to the area, either through family or friends.

Despite that, she woke up one day last week with a persistent urge to do something, anything, to assist those recovering from Superstorm Sandy.

"Thursday I just felt that God was saying, 'Staten Island,' and I don't know why, but I knew for some reason I had to help Staten Island," she said.

What followed is an effort she's dubbing Loads of Love, to bring items to families in need.

Through noon Wednesday, Siegel is collecting everything from cold-weather gear to cleaning supplies and toiletries to take to New York on Thursday. The full list of items may be found at her Facebook page, Load of Love for Staten Island.

There are three drop-off locations in Morris — at Big R, there is a red bin at the front of the store for items purchased in-store; 104 Deerpath Drive; and Siegel's home, at 10235 Ashley Road. There is also a Seneca location, at 216 Grant Street, and additional locations in Pontiac and Odell.

Siegel said the effort took off faster than she had expected. After her initial idea, her interest in helping out snowballed with her receiving permission to use her cousin's 30-foot trailer and a friend from Iowa offering to drive out to haul it to New York.

The next morning, she said the plans continued to grow.

"It just blew up and in a matter of 12 hours, Big R in Morris and Pontiac were on board," she said.

Since starting the Facebook page, she's been in contact with people who have offered everything from space in their homes and garages to store donations to donations to cover gas expenses.

"God has just moved in unbelievable ways," she said. "My phone has not stopped ringing in two days."

In addition to the trailer, Siegel is also bringing a 26-foot U-Haul truck, which will be filled in the Pontiac area.

Siegel said the donations will be connected to locals in need through a Staten Island church with which she has gotten in contact. When looking into where to send the items, she said she searched for area Bible churches and, when she found this one, she read the website and reached out to the pastor.

"They had been praying (for help), I just took a step," she said.

In communicating with the pastor and families, she said the immediate needs for New Yorkers are not for clothing, but more winter gear and cleaning supplies, as well as gift cards for gas stations (BP and Shell stations are prevalent in the area, she noted) and pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS.

"There's just an unbelievable need," she said.

She said while other areas were also affected, she's going to stay focused on the area that has come to her attention, and encourage others to step forward for others.

"I'm just focusing on Staten Island, hoping it encourages others to pick a spot and go," she said.

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