By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM — The Cub Scouts of Pack 160 may not be experts with a needle and thread, but that didn’t stop them from helping to make dozens of blankets, scarves and hats for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The Scouts, with help from approximately 100 parents and volunteers, spent two nights at Lancaster School this week made warm weather clothing for some of the thousands of people in New Jersey and New York affected by the storm.
Today, six large bags of the clothing and blankets — all made with donated materials — will be loaded into a tractor-trailer headed for Toms River, N.J. Local stores, including Market Basket, have served as drop-off locations for donations.
The truck, donated by McDevitt Trucks of Manchester, leaves at 5 a.m. tomorrow, according to Neil DeLuca of Derry, an organizer of Operation New Hampshire Cares.
When Pack 160 heard how DeLuca and other New Hampshire residents were teaming up to help storm victims, they leaped at the chance to contribute, den leader Sheri Sharkey said. Her husband, Patrick Sharkey, is the pack master.
The Scouts and volunteers gathered at Lancaster School for several hours to make as many items as they could using fleece and other materials donated by Mill Direct Textiles in Lawrence, Sharkey said.
“A lot of people helped out,” Sharkey said. “That’s what made it work.”
While the adults stitched the clothing, some of the eight Scouts from Sharkey’s Webelos den cut the fabric and created the fringe, along with 15 to 20 Scouts from other groups.
It was valuable learning experience for the Scouts, some of whom didn’t truly understand the impact Sandy had on the thousands of people left without food, water, heat, electricity and even homes, Sharkey said. The storm Oct. 29 also killed 85 people.
“At first, they didn’t really think about it,” she said. “The more you brought it up, the more they thought about it.”
Sharkey’s 10-year-old son, Jack, asked, “How come they don’t make their own stuff?” she said.
She explained it was because they didn’t have what they needed to help themselves.
As the Scouts wrapped up their project Wednesday night, Jack and fellow Webelo Paul Moreno, 10, explained the importance of assisting the storm victims.
“You are helping people who may not have a house or supplies they need to keep warm,” Paul said.
For more information about Operation New Hampshire Cares, visit facebook.com/OperationsNHCares.