Reporting Tracy Perlman
HUDSON, Wis. (WCCO) – Football Sunday across the border in Wisconsin means green and gold, but, in Hudson, the focus this week wasn’t only on the game. The focus was on helping Hurricane Sandy victims.
When a call for help comes from Agave Kitchen owner, Paul Rode, the restaurant’s Hudson, Wis. community responds in full force.
Rode doesn’t want recognition for his efforts. Like many others, he doesn’t extend a hand for the publicity. He just wants to help because it’s the right thing to do.
Rode got a moving truck and put a note out on Facebook, saying whatever is donated to Sandy victims, he’ll donate. The corner across from his restaurant was quickly filled with donations. Bags of clothing, food, cleaning supplies and water soon piled up.
Rode will drive the packed truck 1,200 miles to the people who need it most in New Jersey.
While he can’t be with his family near the Jersey Shore, George Klein is finding comfort from the generosity of his neighbors.
“Jersey is known for being hard. It isn’t. They’re really soft people,” he said. “When we see the damage, especially Seaside Heights, with all those rides gone, it’s very emotional for us.”
Klein helped pack boxes of donated items. He’s also was grateful for his community’s outpouring of support.
“What can you say about all these people who’ve really poured out the help? Especially Paul, for him to get this truck and want to help. It’s great. It’s appreciated,” said Klein.
As Rode set out on one journey with his truck of donations, Angie Hatch finished a marathon of one.
She opted out of the New York City Marathon Wednesday before it was canceled, so she wouldn’t use resources others needed. After seeing how much training and fundraising she put into the race, her friends and family helped her map out a 26.2-mile course so she could run the marathon at home.
“Obviously, the idea went crazy in town. I am so blessed and humbled by the outpouring of support and community,” Hatch said.
Other marathoners in New York did run the course Sunday through Central Park. Many of the supplies purchased for the race, including hundreds of blankets and thousands of cases of waters, were instead of donated to storm victims.
Back in Hudson, everyone is doing what they can in the spirit of helping others.
“It was everything I dreamed it would be and more. I can’t even tell you how amazing today was,” Hatch said.
Through her race, Angie raised almost $20,000 for Change for Children, an organization that helps kids find permanent, loving families.