Sending aid north

The Susquehanna Hose Company, of Havre de Grace, is collecting relief supplies for firefighters and their families in New York and New Jersey, some of whom were left homeless by Sandy. On Thursday, Brian and Lisa Minutoli help organize and pack items to be shipped to those affected by the storm. (Photo by Randy McRoberts/Aegis staff / November 5, 2012)

Harford County was spared from the worst of Superstorm Sandy, and many thankful residents have decided to help people elsewhere in the Northeast who were hit hard by the storm.

The aid rendered to the less fortunate by Harford County residents comes with forecasters calling for more potentially destructive weather in the region, as a Nor'easter is expected bring high winds, rain and possibly some snow to the county, according to the National Weather Service.

Mostly rain is in the forecast Wednesday for Maryland, according to the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, the weather blog on http://www.baltimoresun.com reported Tuesday morning. Snow should stay to our northeast, bringing a dusting or up to a few inches from Philadelphia to Boston.

The storm, however, could have the most impact in the areas hardest hit by Sandy in New Jersey and New York. The heaviest snow Wednesday is expected across central and Northern New Jersey and the metropolitan New York area, according to the center's forecast maps.


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Among those helping out Sandy's more unfortunate victims are some high-profile Harford County based organizations, including Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in Pylesville, Looney's Pub in Bel Air and the Susquehanna Hose Company of Havre de Grace.

On Saturday, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, or NCM, at 5300 Fawn Grove Road in Pylesville, sent a considerable amount of shampoo, soap and other toiletries to battered communities on Long Island in New York.

"We shipped 1,697 boxes of hygiene kits, and there are six kits per box, so 10,182 kits in all," said John Borgal, the warehouse manager of NCM.

Packing supplies and shipping them to places in need is nothing new for NCM.

"We sent a lot of stuff to Katrina victims [in 2005]," Borgal said Monday. "We send a lot of items overseas to third world countries also."

Most recently, NCM had sent shipments of clothing and toiletries to Moldova, the Ukraine and Papua New Guinea. They have more items they want to send to the northeast, but have to wait for the go-ahead from NCM's national headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas

"We have a lot more things to send like clothing, but we're waiting for the go-ahead," Borgal said. "We don't know if [communities in the Northeast] are ready for all of that yet."

"We were very fortunate [to help]," Borgal said. "We're glad we can. I've been doing this for 20 years."

Anyone interested in donating to NCM can stop by Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays by appointment. They can be reached by phone at 410-452-8699.

Looney's Pub in Bel Air is also sending supplies to New York and New Jersey, through the Red Cross.

"We're collecting, food, clothes and any kind of money," said Jen Bowen, a manager at Looney's. Specifically, Looney's is accepting non-perishable food items, Bowen said.

"With any monetary donations [to the Red Cross] we are matching the total," Bowen added. "For every $50 you donate, we're giving $10 in Looney's Bucks," gift cards redeemable at the pub.

Looney's is accepting donations at all four of its locations: Maple Lawn, College Park and Canton in addition to Bel Air, Bowen said. The idea to help came from the pub's co-owners Steve Lirenta and Bill Larney.

"We try to donate to a lot of different places when people are in need," Bowen said. "The owners decided to try to help everybody in New York and New Jersey."

To his knowledge, local fire companies have not sent anyone up north yet to help with clean up efforts, Rich Gardiner, public information office for the Harford Fire and EMS Association, said Monday.

The Susquehanna Hose Company of Havre de Grace, however, is collecting relief supplies for firefighters and their families in New York and New Jersey, some of whom were left homeless from the storm.

"We're sending much of what we collect north to the Fire Department of New York, some of whose squad members lost their homes," Susquehanna Hose Chief Scott Hurst said Tuesday afternoon

Hurst added they had already collected so much by Tuesday, that additional supplies will be sent to New Jersey, where several Susquehanna Hose members, who moved to Harford from New Jersey with BRAC, have relatives and friends in the fire service there.

"It's unbelievable what we collected," Hurst said. "We filled an entire bay of the fire house. Things have been coming in all day long. The residents up in Bulle Rock collected three truckloads of stuff."

Hurst said Susquehanna Hose has received donations of 50 cases of water, cartons of dog and cat foot, cartons of canned goods, diapers, toilet and other paper products, batteries and clothing, all being collected and the No. 5 firehouse on Chapel Road. On Tuesday afternoon, Havre de Grace Stack & Store donated a number of large packing boxes for use in shipping the donations, he said.

Hurst said the company at first had planned to send a single 22-foot long truck trailer with supplies north but may now need to find a second truck.

"We're going to take one load out Thursday afternoon," he said. "The way things are going, we'll probably be taking another on Saturday."

The load on Thursday will be taken north by three members of the Baltimore City Fire Company, including Brian Minutoli, who is also a volunteer member with Susquehanna Hose. Minutoli and his wife, Lisa, have been coordinating the Havre de Grace donations. Brian Minutoli's father is a retired NYFD firefighter, Hurst said.

The Minutolis have been aided in their effort by Sonya Cubberley, whose husband Sam, is also a SHCO member. The Cubberleys are among the families who relocated to Havre de Grace from New Jersey with BRAC.

Donations of clothing, nonperishable food, toiletries and other supplies can be dropped off at the Susquehanna Hose Company's No. 5 firehouse through Thursday morning, Hurst said. There should be somebody at the station, which is at 1542 Chapel Road in Havre de Grace. If no one is present, Hurst said, information on where to leave the donations will be posted on the door.