West End NJ native drives supply trucks into Sandy - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

West End NJ native leads supply trucks into Sandy-torn area

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A woman from the West End is leading a caravan of supply trucks into the trenches of New Jersey. Initially, Michelle Madaras had rented two trucks. However, her drive collected so many items, that she had to rent a third vehicle midday Sunday.

Madaras is headed to the Jersey shore, one of Sandy's most battered areas. Thousands of homes are unlivable, if they're still standing. Madaras hears of the devastation from her family in Manasquan, New Jersey.

"Condemning houses, the gas is shut off due to gas leaks, boats in front yards, houses are just gone...still looking for people," listed Madaras of the devastation that's befallen her hometown.

Sunday, Richmonders dropped off carloads of basic necessities for those suffering. Everything from dog food to toilet paper was packed into the trailers. Madaras publicized the drive through Facebook and mass emails.

"I love to help, whenever I can," said Vanessa Harris, who made the effort to donate. "I brought tissues, and pillows and paper towels, and napkins."

One man handed Madaras the jacket off his back, as a donation. He also gave her $300 cash for gas money.

Larry Creeger happened to have a garage full of pillows, blankets and other mattress covers, which he decided to donate.

"I went over there today and said, ‘Why don't you take this to somewhere that it's needed.' It's more important than selling it for a few dollars on eBay," said Creeger, who had the supplies left over from a former company he ran.

Other people from Richmond are already helping in Sandy-torn areas. Eighteen Red Cross volunteers are helping distribute supplies across West Virginia, New Jersey and New York.

"I talked to a young man last night, who sent his wife and children from Staten Island to New Jersey for safety," said Mary Davis-Baton, a Red Cross volunteer from Richmond. She's helping in a shelter in Staten Island. "He hadn't heard from them for four or five days. Finally, he got a text last night. It just said, 'I love you.' And then he knew they were safe."

Many are safe, but now struggling to repair their lives…and are grateful for any necessities.

"It makes you speechless. It really just makes you feel good to know that everyone is pulling together to do this," said Madaras. She left Sunday night to drive the trucks to an Office of Emergency Management base in Manasquan.

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