EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 6, 2012

Help needed to fill truck for Sandy victims

ATKINSON — When Pam Burke of Atkinson decided she was going to fill a 53-foot tractor trailer with items for Hurricane Sandy victims, she knew she had big aspirations.

After just a few weeks, she has collected enough items to fill half the tractor trailer through Shoeboxes from Santa.

The idea is to offer a little holiday cheer by filling shoeboxes with items designed to brighten a particular person’s holiday.

A puzzle fan might get a small jigsaw puzzle, a book of crossword puzzles, some bright pencils and a card game. A sports fan might receive a shoebox with trading cards, a team magnet, a baseball or a cap. A mother might appreciate some tea, a paperback novel, some lotion and a pair of slipper socks.

Burke is asking people to use their imaginations and fill a shoebox or two for New Jersey storm victims. While she’s pleased with the response so far, she won’t be completely satisfied unless she fills the truck.

“I’m scared I won’t fill it,” Burke said yesterday. “People are expecting to see this truck full of shoeboxes.”

The shoeboxes, along with toys, clothes and food, is destined for Long Beach Island, N.J.

“If (all the people I’ve talked to) have collected as much as they’re saying, then I think we’ve filled about half the truck,” Burke said. “I couldn’t fathom I would have gotten this far. Up until two weeks ago, it was just me.”

A relative newcomer, Burke said she didn’t know many people when she started out. That has changed.

She made several calls to people in the region, asking for help.

The Rev. Paul Dionne of Atkinson Congregational Church was one of the first to respond.

“I spend every summer down on the Jersey Shore in Long Beach Island,” Dionne said. “It hit a nerve for me as I’ve had some special times down there.”

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