Kentucky volunteers really cared

Photos by Natalie Rodriguez
Kentucky Care volunteers who helped load truck, clockwise from top l., are:
Bob Hallenbeck, Sean Riordan, Peter Tirella, Victor Martinez, Ron Cook and
Luis Villalta. Not pictured are: Sergio Ulloa, Sabrina Walker and Alex Zapata.


By Karen Zautyk

Observer Correspondent

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Observer readers are amazing! And generous beyond imagining. Last week, the Kentucky Care truck left our parking lot for the first leg of its journey down to Appalachia.

Make that, the THIRD Kentucky Care truck of 2012.

In response to our annual drive, readers this year – like last – filled three of the 53-foot trailers with donations. And we mean filled. Boxes of clothing, food, home goods, toys, etc., etc., were stacked and packed from floor to roof and front to back.

There were also bicycles. And furniture. More than one person donated an entire household full of goods: sofas, chairs, tables, et al.

This year’s project, sponsored as always by Kentucky Care founder Gino Montrone, was launched Sept. 11 and ended Oct. 4, a week later than planned, due to the fantastic response.

On collection days, Tuesdays and Thursdays, there was a constant flow of traffic into The Observer parking lot. “At one point, at least 20 cars were trying to get in,” reported Natalie Rodriguez, assistant to our general manager.

Rodriguez also shared heartwarming stories, one involving a woman who arrived by bus, lugging three large bags full of clothing. After getting help carrying them from bus stop to lot, she stayed around to help direct the traffic. The woman, Rodriguez said, apparently had a troubled past, but she was embarking on a new future. When she read the story of Kentucky Care in The Observer, she said it was “as if God had given her a hint: Do this. Give back to others.”

She told Rodriguez that Kentucky Care had given her a purpose: “As bad as I have it, other people have it much worse.”

That woman’s story goes to the heart of the project and reflects the human kindness demonstrated by all who donated. Whether they returned day after day with multiple carloads of items or gave one small box, every one of them was an inspiration.

So, too, were our project volunteers: Ron Cook, Peter Tirella, Bob Hallenbeck, Sean Riordan, Luis Villalta and Victor Martinez, along with Kearny High School students Michel Casafranca and Kelly Ortega.

A big “thank you” to them and to all those who donated. You are the best! And you can be certain the deserving recipients of your generosity know that, too.

The Observer Staff