NEW RICHMOND, Wis. - Over the past week, Jeanne Curtis has barely had time to eat. She put her job on hold and has been working the phones and the internet, trying to make a difference in the lives of people out the East Coast. Curtis is a native of Philadelphia, and has friends up and down the Jersey Shore.
"People are just losing their morale and that's why I'm doing this, because something has to be done," she told KARE 11. She contacted Philadelphia firefighters, the brothers and sisters her father used to work with. They told her what people in shelters need; personal hygiene items and warm winter clothes. You can see those items in bags and boxes behind her living room couch.
Curtis contacted some people onFacebookand soon boxes from 14 states were sent to the Eastern shores, where people are still struggling from the effects of Superstorm Sandy.
On her kitchen table, Curtis keeps her laptop, cell phone, and a stack of shells her children gathered from the Jersey shore not long ago. Also close by is her father's firefighter helmet. That firefighter mentality of helping others drives her to make a dozen more calls and send a hundred more emails. "If they could do what he did and his friends can do what they do, I can certainly do what I'm doing," she said.
One of Curtis' close friends, Kristen Johnson of Hudson, has been working Twin Cities' businesses for donations. She's also complied a healthy stack of personal effects for the people out east. Having helped out with the Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she knows what people need.
"They need tangible things. You wake up one day and everything you have is gone, then that's what you need, you need everything," Johnson said.
Johnson and Curtis will bring what they've collected to KARE 11 on Thursday. We've arragned a C.H. Robinson truck that's 53 feet long. The goal is to fill it on Thursday before it rolls toward Philly and Jersey. The truck will be in the south parking lot at 8811 Olson Memorial Highway in Minneapolis (55427) from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. We hope to see you there, and again, bring hygiene supplies and winter gear; it'll be sent directly to the shelters where victims are living.