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Storm disaster supplies need new home

Director of St. Anne's Parish outreach Deborah Kirnon

Director of St. Anne's Parish outreach Deborah Kirnon helped run a designated Red Cross distribution site, which gave clothes, food, and supplies to 17,000 people after Sandy. Now she and others are being asked to remove an 18 wheeler full of supplies from the storage room where they've been keeping it. (July 11, 2013) Credit: Jeffrey Basinger

After months of storing disaster supplies for victims of superstorm Sandy, St. Anne Roman Catholic Church in Brentwood has to find a new place to house a room full of post-storm necessities, or throw them out, the church's outreach director said.

After Sandy, St. Anne's became a hot spot for storm victims looking to get a hot meal, cleaning supplies and warm, dry clothes. A week after the storm, parish outreach director Deborah Kirnon said the American Red Cross designated the church as an approved disaster distribution center.

"We helped over 17,000 people with supplies -- blankets, clothes, flashlights, first-aid kits, cleanup kits, and the cleanup kits I have in storage," Kirnon said. "They delivered me an 18-wheeler packed with over $300,000 worth of merchandise."

There were more supplies than the little church could hold, Kirnon said, so the nuns of the neighboring Sisters of St. Joseph convent allowed her to store everything in their convent's basement for several months.

Now that basement area is being leased out, and Kirnon has been told she has to remove everything from a locked room that contains supplies -- including heaps of mattresses, blankets, heaters, pillows, clothes and nonperishable food -- by Aug. 1.

The sisters were "very gracious and worked with us," Kirnon said, but St. Anne's can't afford to pay for a storage space to hold the disaster materials, and there's no place in the church for them.

The stash of supplies, Kirnon said, will offer some relief to Brentwood residents in the event of another Sandy. "We need supplies here, accessible," she said, adding that residents are familiar and comfortable with St. Anne's.

Kirnon gestured to the heaps of donations, piled to the ceiling in some places. "Where am I going to put it? I'm going to have to put it out to the garbage."

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