Babylon church hosts impromptu Sandy drive

A food and clothing drive is being held

A food and clothing drive is being held at the First Presbyterian Church of Babylon for victims of superstorm Sandy. It was organized by Michelle Melfi, her mother Judy Skillen and sister Kim Skillen, all of Babylon. (Nov. 2, 2012) (Credit: Handout)

Michelle Melfi’s home on Gamecock Lane in Babylon wasn’t hurt by superstorm Sandy, but she knows others who have been hit hard.

“So many of my friends and so many of my kids’ friends -- their houses have been destroyed and they need help,” she said.

So this morning she and her family decided to do something about it.

Melfi’s mother, Judy Skillen, who is an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Babylon, called the pastor, Tom Sutter, and asked if they could use the church’s gymnasium to set up shop to collect and distribute toiletries, gift cards, water, food, school supplies, coats and clothing. He quickly agreed, and they went into action, posting on Facebook that they would be at the church and seeking donations.

Since 10 a.m. this morning, they’ve collected hundreds of items of clothing, canned goods and water.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of neighbors to help neighbors,” said Kim Skillen, Melfi’s sister. “We posted a few things on Facebook and this is what we got.”

The collection is running through 4 p.m. today and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. tomorrow.

Melfi, 46, an administrator at the Half Hollow Hills School District, said she may extend it to Sunday from noon-4 p.m. if there are leftover items to distribute.

Anyone needing help, especially from the surrounding area south of Montauk Highway, which was hardest hit, is welcome to pick up items at the church.

“I think it’s wonderful what Judy and her two daughters have done,” said Sutter. “It should show everybody the power of Facebook.”

Sutter added that the church had gotten power at 4 a.m. this morning. It was still without gas, telephone or Internet service as of 3 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church is located at 79 East Main St., Babylon.

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