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Indian River students donate comfort kits to Red Cross of NNY

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PHILADELPHIA — When Red Cross volunteers respond to a disaster, they bring comfort kits to show victims how much they are cared for by surrounding communities.

Indian River High School students did just that as the Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter collected personal hygiene and home-comfort items to make up 22 comfort kits for the Red Cross’s Hurricane Sandy relief effort.

“That was closer to us,” said Hannah E. Miterko, 18. “It could have happened to us, and we would have wanted to get help.”

Miss Miterko, club secretary, and Justin M. Mattingly, 17, who coordinated the effort, loaded an American Red Cross of Northern New York car with kits that had a soap bar, shampoo bottle, toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, comb, crayons, an activity or coloring book, tissues, a journal and pencils.

Although comfort kits are available to adults and children, the high school seniors said they chose to help children because students can better relate to them.

Jane G. Gendron, NNY chapter executive, picked up the goods Monday at the high school, 32925 Route 11, along with Tracy Slate, program coordinator.

“This enforces the fact that young people know what the Red Cross does,” Mrs. Gendron said. “We want to make sure we’re here when anyone needs us.”

That includes both out-of-town and north country residents. Mrs. Gendron said Red Cross volunteers are being dispatched to fires once or twice a week throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Whether it’s for hurricane relief, another natural disaster, fires or shelter openings, the Red Cross gives comfort kits to those who need a little piece of home convenience after experiencing one of those unfortunate situations.

Mrs. Gendron said comfort kits collected by Indian River High School students will be sent this week to Staten Island because “they still don’t have power and individuals are in shelters.”

She added residents will probably find a use for them.

“I’m sure they won’t go to waste,” she said.

Whether it’s collecting items for comfort kits, organizing a blood drive, hosting dress-down days for donations or seeking volunteer opportunities, Mrs. Gendron said youths may help the nonprofit group in several ways. For more information, Mrs. Gendron may be reached via telephone at 782-4410.

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