Joni Industries helps Sandy victims
KIM DAMEBROOKSVILLE - Each evening as the sun descends into the western horizon, many take for granted the amazing cycle of a day, beginning and ending with the promise of a consistently repeating pattern.
Published: November 14, 2012
Published: November 14, 2012
For residents of the Northeast who were affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, however, the descending sun also means another night spent in the dark, beginning another day of dealing with the aftermath of a storm that devastated their lives.
On Oct. 30, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the coasts of New York and New Jersey, leaving a trail of destruction that will be felt for months, even years, as recovery continues nearly two weeks later. Victims struggle with the loss of power, no running water and an absence of even the simplest of conveniences.
The ravaged coasts of New York and New Jersey are still in the process of returning to a state of normalcy. And efforts are under way to help those victims, some who lost everything.
Immediately following the storm, Gus Guadagnino, owner of Joni Industries and newly elected Hernando County School Board member, wanted to do something for the victims.
"There was a cry for help, and people wanted to get involved," he said.
"Look around your room," Guadagnino wrote in a recent post on Facebook. "Look at everything in that room. Look at the house that holds that room. Look at the car in your driveway. Now close your eyes for a moment and imagine that everything is gone."
"That's what started all this," he said.
Guadagnino and Joni Industries have facilitated many charitable community events over the year.
"We are one of those companies that, when we can make a difference, we do it," Guadagnino said.
The first thing he did was call a friend who owns Global Transportation and Logistics in Spring Hill to ask what he needed to do to get items delivered to the ravaged coast.
"He told me, 'You put it together and we'll take care of you.'"
From now until Monday morning, when the truck is expected to leave, residents can donate items in need.
"We'll take everything," Guadagnino said.
Cold weather clothing, blankets, non-perishable food items, furniture, baby formula and small kitchen appliances — the list is as long as anyone's ability to imagine being in the wake of the destruction.
Guadagnino said those affected are also without jobs. Many won't be able to rebuild, he said.
"Everything that goes up there will be used," he added.
Guadagnino began putting the collection drive idea together the minute the storm had hit.
Joni Industries started taking donations only a few days ago, with items piling up in an open room of the warehouse. The goal was to fill a trailer.
"We will get a tractor trailer if we need to," Guadagnino said.
Brooksville resident Shelley Sims heard about the donation drop on the evening news. She showed up with a storage tub of winter wear.
"It is ski gear," Sims said. "I figured they could use it up there."
For items that are too large to deliver or for donors who cannot make it to the drop-off site, they can call Joni Industries at (352) 799-5456 and request a pickup.
Joni Industries also designed and printed T-shirts with the message, Restore the Shore. Shirts can be purchased for $10 at Joni Industries or through a special website at www.shoretees.net.
Each $10 T-shirt sold will donate $5 to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy victims. The other $5 will help offset the costs involved in delivering items to the Northeast.
"My whole thing is just making sure it goes where it needs to be, that it doesn't get to the wrong place," he said. "There's a part of me that wants to see this go with my own eyes. But they are people I trust."