Mary Ellen Kirby, a 20-year resident of Zionsville, has a huge heart. It’s one that stretches all the way to the east coast, where she grew up on Staten Island. In an effort to help victims of Hurricane Sandy she launched an “S.O.S. (Support Our Staten Island) Campaign” called, “Zionsville loves Staten Island” connecting the town of Zionsville with a not-for-profit organization in New York called Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Her motivation was simple and tear-filled as she shared her story, “I grew up in Staten Island and, when I saw what was happening, I had to do something. I heard the story of a mother and son who climbed up to their attic and had to be picked up by a boat.Then there was the mother who couldn’t hold on anymore and her children got washed away. I didn’t know these people but this was home. I made a decision then that I couldn’t do nothing.”
With just one, passionate woman, this effort began and Zionsville residents and businesses responded.Various restaurants are holding “Zionsville loves Staten Island” benefit nights with a portion of proceeds donated to the cause. Noah Grants jumped in and bought t-shirts for all their employees, and drop boxes to collect toiletries and hygiene items are located at Akard True Value Hardware and Control Tech Heating & Air. This weekend, at Christmas in the Village, t-shirts will be on sale on Saturday and Sunday at Eagle Creek Coffee Company, who will provide coupons for a free treat with every t-shirt purchase. Also, the Corner Vise Gallery & Frame Shop will be offering free gift wrapping with a donation to the cause.
With this project, which has been extended through December, Kirby hopes to spread awareness of the devastation on Staten Island and provide as much support as possible. “I don’t have a specific goal. Anything we do is more than what we had before. It’s about caring for someone else, not just yourself. You just gotta care.”
To make a donation or for more information see their Facebook page, Support our Staten Island, or email email@example.com. Matching company gifts accepted.