Lower Macungie Patch is a terrifically easy place to get news and to find out other things about our community.
But did you know that there’s an additional community, one that’s sometimes funny, sometimes angry, often outspoken and always lively on Lower Macungie Patch’s Facebook page? Uninhibited by the structure of journalism, people speak freely there.
During Hurricane Sandy, it was a place to trade information on power outages and where to get coffee.
Afterwards, however, was when Lower Macungie Patch’s Facebook community showed its heart.
Michael Hinton, who frequently posts on this Facebook page, sent the editor a long private message on Nov. 1.
Hinton moved here with his family from Staten Island after he retired from the NYPD as a lieutenant. He still has friends there, and many of them were devastated by the storm. Part of his post read:
“So far, there have been 14 deaths reported on Staten Island and that toll is in the process of rising. I know of 10 NYPD officers and their families who have lost their homes and only have the clothes on their backs. These officers continue to assist with rescue and recovery efforts, even as their own families go without. … Would you be willing to ask Patch readers if they were willing to donate any gently used clothing?”
The response was overwhelming with readers from as far away as Virginia responding.
Within hours of the post it became very obvious to Hinton that he needed someplace larger than his Lower Macungie home to serve as a collection point.
The items needed by the victims had evolved by the time the collection days rolled around, a week after the Hinton asked for help. Less clothing was needed. More pressing was the need for cleaning items and personal products.
The Lower Macungie Patch Facebook community turned on a dime. Amazing people exhibited extraordinary generosity – enough to fill two trailers with the items in the photo.
People – including Township Commissioner Roger Reis – rolled up their sleeves and did some pretty heaving lifting. Literally. Reis also insisted on taking care of gas and tolls for the caravan.
Another volunteer named Jonathan not only donated boxes of new items, he stayed and helped load the trailers and even reserved another trailer for Nov. 12 in case it was needed.
Another amazing volunteer was a local Cub Scout leader.
“Greg O'Neill stopped at my house one day and offered the use of a trailer that he owned. It was a really big trailer. He showed up with it on Saturday and along with 5 other friends of mine, he helped us load it up,” Hinton said.
The Staten Island devastation was unbelievable, he said. They delivered the goods to a VFW post and to an adult care facility that was caring for patients from a Queens nursing home that had been destroyed.
“It was a long day, but well worth it,” Hinton said.
Editor’s note: Readers, if I may be allowed to step outside the third person of reporting and into my own voice: I am overwhelmed at your generosity and spirit every day. But on this occasion, when so many people in another community needed so much…you all just blew me away. I need to tell you that there were also generous offers of space made by Macungie Borough Manager Chris Boehm. Items came from individuals and families throughout the township and the borough.
Special thanks to Michael Hinton.
I am so very grateful to be your Patch editor. ~Mariella