WOODLAND PARK — Officials in Woodland Park, a town well-acquainted with the damage that heavy, sustained rainfall can cause, are collecting cases of bottled water at the Boys & Girls Club for flood victims in Louisiana.
After next week’s donation drive, a 40-foot truck will take the cases of water to Baton Rouge, said Councilman Vincent DeCesare, one of the organizers.
“We’re looking to help people in any way we can,” DeCesare said.
The flooding in southern Louisiana, which the Red Cross has called the worst natural disaster in the country since Superstorm Sandy, has resulted in 13 deaths, and President Obama declared it a disaster area on Aug. 14.
DeCesare said he called the Red Cross in Louisiana to ask how to help and was told drinking water was in short supply. He said he was inspired to act while watching the devastation on TV by memories of flooding in the borough, especially from Sandy, when his son in Lincoln Park was flooded out of his home.
Many sections of Woodland Park, which is cut through by the Passaic River and its tributaries, often flood in heavy rain, and some borough homes were temporarily uninhabitable after Tropical Storm Irene and Sandy.
The collection efforts are helped by a $1,000 donation from Anthony Colandro, owner of the local gun range Gun for Hire, to kick-start the effort. And Fernando Rodrigues from TMX Intermodal has offered the truck, fuel and driver to deliver the water 1,350 miles to Baton Rouge.
Being hit by Sandy, which closed Elizabeth-based TMX Intermodal for two weeks, motivated Rodrigues.
“We went through Sandy. We’re by the port,” Rodrigues said. “We were affected.”
The West Paterson Boys and Girls Club on 8 Memorial Drive will be the site of drop-offs of cases of bottled water from 4 to 8 p.m., Sept. 6 through 9.