Update Nov. 4: Anyone with gas and time to ferry donations is asked to contact Mary at 732-915-9228.
On Saturday in the dark gymnasium at Saint Benedict School in Holmdel where power has still not been restored, hundreds of local volunteers efficiently sorted and folded a river of donated clothes and toiletries into categories, and stacked them on tables ringing the room.
Coordinator Mary Mykityshyn of Holmdel said the need is so great for storm-ravaged victims of Keyport, Union Beach, and Keansburg. But the Bayshore residents don't have a way to get to the regional distribution center at Hillcrest and Bethany Road in Holmdel.
"A major problem for us is that the need is out there, but they can't get here," she said. A system had not been worked out. "We have a small list of volunteers willing to drive donations to Union Beach, but we're all in the same boat -- we are low on gas."
Since Saint Ben's was designated a regional distribution center on Thursday, the donations and volunteers have been streaming in to help. The parking lot is half full, and a steady stream of vehicles pull up to the curb. Grade school kids with shopping carts meet the motorists at the car, offload the donations and wheel them into the gym, where teenagers and adult volunteers are working long shifts by the light of the windows.
"People have been so generous," said Mykityshyn. "It's going amazingly well," she said.
She took a cellphone call, hung up and headed out the door. "A busload of victims is coming in, from Keansburg," she said, happily. "Our first one."