Volunteers collect tons of donated items for Sandy victims

Volunteers collect tons of donated items for Sandy victims

Berks County residents have opened their hearts and their wallets for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Two different communities have sprung into action to help some of the hardest hit areas.

A 26-foot U-Haul arrived home in Fleetwood on Friday after six hours on the road. A local group headed south early Friday morning en route to Long Beach Island, N.J., one of the areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

"Two of my cousins have lost everything in their house. They have to rebuild from the ground up," said Louanne Kasperowicz, whose family members live on the island.

Louanne and her husband, Joe, teamed up with the Fleetwood borough and police department. They loaded up the truck Thursday night with boxes of supplies donated by the community.

"Humbling is the only word we can use because we wanted to start with a few boxes," said Joe Kasperowicz.

Now, Louanne and Joe plan to fill the truck again and make a trip every Friday for the rest of November.

Across the county, another group has rolled up their sleeves to help those still struggling in New York.

Inside the library at Conrad Weiser High School, the shelves were stocked full of baby food and canned vegetables.

Molly Wentzel graduated from the school a few years ago. She turned to her alma mater to help her friends in the Big Apple.

"She emailed and said, 'Hey, listen. My neighbors have lost everything that they have,'" said Kenny Bright, who teaches social studies at Conrad Weiser.

Molly now attends college at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y. Once the hurricane hit, she organized a food and toiletries drive. The Conrad Weiser School District, the local Boy Scout Troop 459 in Wernersville, and St. John Hain's Church in Wernersville rallied behind her.

"Seeing the devastation, I think it made everybody realize that we all have something we can give," said Ann Schmidt, the library media specialist at the high school.

Molly's family plans to drive all the supplies to New York on Sunday.

It's two different groups in Berks County helping two different areas both affected by the same storm.

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