FrancisCorps ’14 (FC14) volunteers are responding to Hurricane Sandy’s devastation in New Jersey and Staten Island with a cleaning supplies collection in Syracuse.
FrancisCorps, a yearlong Franciscan lay volunteer program, is headquartered at the Franciscan Church of the Assumption on Syracuse’s north side. It is currently directed by Friar Rick Riccioli, OFM Conv. There are 10 volunteers in the program this year, with five serving in Syracuse and five serving in Costa Rica.
In a release posted on the FrancisCorps website (www.franciscorps.org), Friar Rick explained the drive. The Franciscan friars have three friaries and parishes on the Jersey Shore. Two have been completely evacuated, and some of the friars have regrouped at the third, St. Peter’s in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. From there, directed by friary Guardian and Pastor Friar Bob Benko, friars and parishioners will distribute needed items to the community. The Franciscan friary on Staten Island was spared significant damage, but that community is in need of assistance as well.
“The people are fine in terms of clothes and food, but will need long term assistance with clean up. The Seaside communities will not be habitable for another five to eight months. Much of the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt,” Friar Rick said in an email.
In response to these needs, the FC14 volunteers are collecting cleaning supplies — including work gloves, rubber gloves, rakes, shovels, goggles, heavy duty trash bags, mops, brooms, sponges, hand sanitizer, dish detergent, bleach, disinfectant, diapers and batteries (C & D type) — and gift cards to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
“The response has been most generous from the Assumption parish, but it is a very small parish so we could always use more cleaning supplies,” Friar Rick said, adding that the most useful gifts are gift cards.
FC14 volunteers will take collected items to the distribution center in New Jersey Dec. 6. Contributions can be dropped off at Assumption Church, 812 N. Salina St., Syracuse; those not in the Syracuse area can send gift cards to FrancisCorps, PO Box 11166, Syracuse N.Y. 13218.
For more information, contact Friar Rick Riccioli, OFM Conv., at FriarRick@franciscorps.org.