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Port Chester PBA: Local Shoppers Made Food Drive a Big Success

Donation drive came just as local residents affected by Hurricane Sandy needed help.

Members of the Port Chester PBA say shoppers in the village made their 2012 food drive  a huge success — and provided much-needed help for local families who were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy and the extended power outages that came from the superstorm.

"Once it got going it was non-stop," said Port Chester Police Sgt. Robert Salerno. "The generosity of people was really great to see."

The food drive to support local food banks and kitchens was launched by the Port Chester PBA in 2011. This year's drive, which took place last Saturday at the Port Chester Costco store on Westchester Avenue, came right after Hurricane Sandy slammed the region. The storm brought some flooding to low-lying sections of Port Chester and brought down many trees and power lines.

More than 8,000 Con Ed customers in Port Chester lost power and the full restoration effort in the village took about 10 days.

Salerno said he and fellow Port Chester police officers who volunteered for the food drive had a hard-time keeping up with the flow of donations that local shoppers were dropping off to them at Costco. He said it took six trips with pick up trucks to carry off all the donations.

"It was easily double what we received last year," said Salerno, who also noted that the drive received big support from Costco employees.

Among the donations:

- More than 500 cans of sauce

- More than 1,000 containers off pasta

- More than 500 cans of tuna

- More than $300 in cash donations, which was used to purchase more supplies.

Salerno said more than 900 flyers were handed out by PBA members to shoppers over a five-hour period, giving them a list of key items that were needed.

The drive, however, came at a sad time for one of its benefactors, the Don Bosco Community Center. As the food drive was taking place, Port Chester residents started to learn of the sudden death of 59-year-old Father Stephen C. Schenck, pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Church of Port Chester. The church operates the Don Bosco Community Center.

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