As Farmington Hills psychologist Dr. Barbara Foley watched the devastation of Hurricane and Superstorm Sandy unfold, she felt the memories of her youth disappearing.
"It was horrible," Foley said. "When all of this first began, I was depressed for days."
Foley grew up on the Jersey Shore. The places she enjoyed as a child have been swept into the ocean. And now she's doing something to help the people from her home state recover. On Thursday night, the first truckload of donated items – everything from baby formula to cleaning supplies – left Farmington Hills for the East Coast.
With friends and family still in that area, Foley learned people were left without homes, without electricity or heat. Food shelves were wiped out, and schools have become shelters for those left homeless by the storm, which has been followed by a second, wintry storm.
Through her network in Farmington Hills, Foley began gathering food items, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, clothing and other items to ship east. While the American Red Cross and other agencies are providing disaster relief, she said, these items will go directly into the hands of people who live where she once lived.
"It has been very heart-warming to see the outpouring of caring for other people," Foley said. "People genuinely, in their hearts, are caring and want to be able to help others."
The following items are needed:
- Non perishable food such as cereal, crackers, canned soups and ravioli, powdered milk, water, peanut butter, jelly, canned tuna or canned chicken
- Cleaning supplies
- Toiletries such as shampoo, soap, toilet paper, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, and razors for both men and women
- New and gently used clothing, blankets, towels, socks, underwear
- Can openers
- Plastic plates, utensils, and garbage bags
- Baby items such as baby cereal, diapers, wipes and formula
The collection will continue through Nov. 30, at Farmington Hills City Hall at 11 Mile and Orchard Lake. Walmart or Target gift cards are being collected by community relations coordinator Diane Bauman at the Farmington Public Schools Lewis Schulman Administrative Center, 32500 Shiawassee, Farmington, MI 48336.
This article has been updated with a list of items being collected.