Doxsey, left, with a Rebuild Staten Island volunteer as they unpack her car full of supplies. See more of Doxsey's Staten Island photos on NewsGuild's Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/TheNewspaperGuildCWA.
Patricia Doxsey’s Mitsubishi sedan was so jammed full of supplies for Hurricane Sandy victims that unpacking it, as a Staten Island volunteer quipped, was like opening Mary Poppins’ carpet bag.
Out of every nook and cranny in the trunk and back seats came a wealth of items donated last week by Kingston Guild members and their Ulster County, N.Y., community.
Grateful volunteers from Rebuild Staten Island sorted through mops and brooms, bleach and cleaning solution, masks to protect people from mold in flooded and rotting homes, ready-made meals, juice boxes for kids, diapers and more.
Doxsey and her “other half,” Buddy Rogers -- a man she says “could pack a mansion in a paper bag” – delivered the carload on Saturday, Nov. 10. It was 12 days after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New Jersey and New York, with Staten Island especially hard hit.
“The outpouring from the community and our members was phenomenal,” said Doxsey, the Kingston Guild president and a Daily Freeman government reporter. “Having lived through Hurricane Irene, we know what it’s like.”
One year ago, Irene’s high winds and floodwaters destroyed homes, businesses and roads in Ulster County. The recovery is still ongoing. Kingston Guild members suffered themselves, while reporting the horrific story. After Sandy, they were eager to help others in need.
Reporter Paula Mitchell suggested the project to Doxsey, who reached out to various relief agencies. She chose to work with Rebuild Staten Island, whose volunteers said cleaning supplies and beverages were badly needed.
Newspaper management and the community pitched in to make the project a success. The Daily Freeman publisher made space available for storing items, which people could drop off with front desk employees. The paper even ran a Guild press release several days in a row to encourage donations.
Driving through Staten Island to make the delivery, Doxsey could hardly believe her eyes. The destruction was a chilling reminder of what her community experienced last year.
“My pictures do no justice to the devastation,” she said. “It’s breathtaking in its horror. You drive down, and see the yellow police tape. It’s there because there used to be a house there, and now that house is gone.”
She’s proud of her members’ generosity and enthusiasm, noting their own tough times. Some are still recovering from Irene, and no one has had cost of living raises since 2007.
“For us, it just made sense on a human level to help,” Doxsey said. “In the Guild, we try to improve people’s lives in the workplace, and this builds on that. It seemed to fit in with our greater mission.”