In true Scout spirit, Rye’s local Boy Scout troop decided to give up their weekend plans to go camping and help people instead.
After learning of the devastation Hurricane Sandy brought to Queens, Rye Scout Troop 2 voted to find a way to help. Former Cubmaster Ray Quartararo organized the trip by contacting a priest at St. Camillus and St. Virgilius Parish School in Broad Channel that suggested the 11-13 year old boys bring and serve food at a children’s carnival to be held by the parish on Saturday, Nov. 17.
The troop- which consists of boys from Rye, Mamaroneck, Rye Brook and Whites Plains - acquired supplies on Friday from Restaurant Depot and Costco. On Saturday morning about 50-60 scouts and adults formed a food assembly line at the Elk’s Hall on Post Road in Mamaroneck to make sandwiches to bring to Broad Channel. The boys made about 200 sandwiches in 30 minutes, Scoutmaster Bill Haigney said. About 12 adult and 12 scout volunteers then transported and distributed the lunch food at the parish in Broad Channel on Saturday from 12 to 2 p.m. and another group came that evening to help Quartararo cook and distribute food then.
“It was almost like a Fellini movie because the whole place is an enormous mess and you show up and there’s people on stilts, music and clowns, and a lot of organizations trying to help,” said Haigney.
The church’s meeting hall was turned into a clothes collection and food distribution area while the carnival went on in the parking lot.
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The boys served hamburgers and hot dogs, homemade chicken soup, coffee donated by Jerry’s Market and the sandwiches they had made earlier that day.
“I think all the boys were surprised at the scale of the destruction,” Haigney said. “I don’t think they quite understood it until they saw it.”
The boys compared the scene - flooded and destroyed cars lining sand-filled roads, boats strewn across roadways and high water marks - to the movie, “War of the Worlds,” Haigney said.
In addition to helping gout Sandy victims, the troop also helped out Resurrection Church here in Rye. Because so many people donated money and food to Sandy relief efforts in the beginning of November, Resurrection’s POTS program suffered. The Scouts volunteered to take home and cook nine turkeys for the church program. The turkeys, along with canned food purchased by the Troop, made nine complete Thanksgiving dinners for those serviced by the POTS program. Troop members donated all the money needed to cover the cost of the food, which was about $970.
The Scouts will go camping this weekend to make up for the trip they postponed to help kids just like themselves enjoy a much-needed break from the devastation Sandy caused.