In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation to the New York/New Jersey area, the Stoughton Police Department kicked off a week-long donation drive starting November 5. The results were overwhelming.
Asking for donations of non-perishable foods, water, clothing, etc., the Community Room at the Police Station on Rose St. soon became filled with boxes and bags full of items to be transported to hurricane victims in Staten Island, NY.
After just five days of collection, the Stoughton Police department had to actually stop collecting donations because there was no more room to collect any items, writing on the department's Facebook page, Saturday Nov. 10: “Thank you all so much! We have received so many donations that all of the vehicles we have to transport are full!”
The Community Room was filled to capacity, with bags spilling out into the lobby as the donations were sorted at the end of the week.
While sorting donations with fellow officers on Friday, Executive Officer Robert Devine described the community's response as “amazing.”
"This is the second time we have done something like this, the first time was after [Hurricane] Katrina. Yet, as impressive as it is, it is not surprising. People can say a lot about Stoughton but the one thing they can never say is that we don’t have a big heart...and this is evidence of it.”
But the Stoughton Police Department wasn’t the only one pitching in - it was truly a community effort. In addition to donations from residents, Sharon Police Officer Phil McEnany and his wife Patty McEnany (mother of Stoughton Police Sgt. John Bonney) dropped off a van load of donations Thursday morning, including a large amount of pet food donated by a store in Cobbs Corner. Officer McEnany was back Friday helping to sort through the donations.
"It's unbelievable," he said of the response. McEnany used to run the canine unit in Norwood, so it was fitting for him to secure donations of pet food and supplies.
"People often forget about the pets disasters," McEnany said.
Local businesses also contributed, like Christie’s Food (owned by Selectman Steve Anastos) which donated one of the trucks to transport the donations and Bank of America Associates of Southeastern Massachusetts who donated six carloads of items.
Kevin McDonnell, of Bank of America explained that his colleague “Lisa Tracey was the one who organized Bank of America’s effort. Lisa’s husband is a Stoughton Police Officer [Bill Tracey] and when we heard they were doing this, we wanted to help. We have a lot of associates in New York and New Jersey who have been impacted.”
In addition to donations of goods were donations of time. With the amount of clothes donated a great deal of manpower was needed to sort and box them. That’s where kids and adults alike pitched in, some coming from as far as West Bridgewater to lend a hand!
This collaborative effort paid off immensely with Stoughton Police Sgt. Dan McGowen, Detective Donna McNamara, Officer Jen Sullivan, Officer McEnany of the Sharon Police Department and Officer Dan Matukas of the Brockton Police Department transporting the donations to Staten Island via two trucks and three cruisers Sunday morning.