SARASOTA COUNTY - One North Port woman who's family was impacted by Superstorm Sandy is going above and beyond to answer the President's call. She is working with the local community to bring some normalcy back to the New York neighborhood she once called home.
"This is my childhood home right here with the white fence," pointing at a wreck of what's left looking a picture. Mary Noonan sees Long Beach New York devastated by Sandy. She felt she had to do something. "I felt what can I do? I have to help. These people need help. It's people like my sisters and my Mom."
For the past few weeks she has organized a drive to help the kids. Figuring aid from around the country would already be arriving, she and her twin 11-year-old sons Finbar and Liam are focusing on school supplies. "I knew they were getting the help with cleaning supplies and water. All that was coming but these kids lost everything."
It's something area business owners like Christine Zagrobelny and Teresa Skoczylas are getting behind. "They lost everything."
Drop off boxes are currently set up at places like their Olde World Restaurant in the city. "We said of course we can do it. Anything to help people."
Saturday the family will be outside Publix collecting what they can. Neighbors have pitched in and donations from their church have come in. A discounted rental truck and volunteers are set to drive everything up. "They are coming out to help us out. They know I am committed and they know what my hometown means to me and what the loss of Michael has meant to us."
The story within the story. Mike Noonan was a well known volunteer around town. The former New York city ambulance driver and volunteer firefighter often spoke about the September 11th attacks and the friends he lost. "On June15th Michael passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage." The family is working themselves to recover.
Some of those who rallied around the family are now affected by the storm including Mary's mother and sisters. This now single mother and her two sons are working to make sure the little things in normalcy are thought of in his name. "He was always caring and a pay it forward type of person. This is what we are doing. We are paying it forward."
You have until Saturday to drop the items off at the locations around town. The truck headed to New York leaves first thing Sunday morning.
You can bring items or donations to heron creek Publix this Saturday from 9am to noon.
Mary has placed drop boxes for people to donate supplies and backpacks at a number of locations, including the Olde World Restaurant, Beef 'O' Brady's, Gamestop in Cocoplum Village Shops, VFW Post 8203 in North Port and, in Englewood, at Stefano's Family Restaurant and Zeke's Bayside Bar. Glenallen Elementary School is promoting the event on its website as well.