For the hard-hit New York City area of Breezy Point, a Ramona shop has a message of hope: Let there be light.
W.T. Kirkman Lanterns on Main Street is donating almost 300 battery-powered lanterns for disaster relief to that Queens neighborhood.
“We’re shipping one pallet, which is about 288 lanterns,” owner Woody Kirkman told Patch. “We also went down and got batteries for them so they wouldn’t have to track down batteries. It’s almost about $10,000 worth of value, after shipping costs.”
His business is the only tubular kerosene lantern manufacturer in the United States, according to one of Kirkman’s websites.
Owner Kirkman also says his company is the exclusive importer and distributor for the United States for Gaudard Kosmos Oil Lamps, made in France.
W.T. Kirkman Lanterns is one of many businesses donating necessary items to the relief efforts on the East Coast.
Frank Sledjeski, in-kind donations supervisor for the Red Cross, said 80,000 people near Long Island still lack power from superstorm Sandy.
Sledjeski told Patch that other big-name companies, like Nestle and Black and Decker, have donated water, pallets of tools to help aid the numerous Red Cross shelters that are set up
“Everyone’s stepping up,” Sledjeski said.
Kirkman said his pallet of lanterns will be shipped out Tuesday and should arrive by freight in four or five days.
“They’re going to ship to their coordination point, which is in Jersey City, and then from there they wil go to Breezy Point,” he said. “Breezy Point was hit pretty hard. I don’t think there was one house that wasn’t affected. Water made it in to every house there, I think.”
Kirkman asked Sledjeski, a friend of his, if the Red Cross needed any help, specifically with lighting.
“He’s seen everything firsthand and I asked if it would help if we send something out,” Kirkman said.
Sledjeski, whose office is out of White Plains, NY, said that the Kirkman Lanterns will be evenly distributed among the shelters so that everyone benefits.
“We need a minimum of 100 of the same thing we can distribute properly,” Sledjeski said. “Less than that it’s pretty hard to give away things.”
The Red Cross in-kind donations supervisor said that while offerings are appreciated, things like clothes and used items are not accepted. However, they are looking for large quantities of plastic silverware.
“We need 20,000 of each,” Sledjeski said, referring to forks, knives and spoons.
Monetary donations can also be made via 800-RED-CROSS. If you or your company wants to donate plastic silverware to the relief efforts, you can conact Sledjeski at 941-894-7170 to make arrangements.
W.T. Kirkman Lanterns is offering anyone who wants to donate new blankets or plastic silverware to drop it off at the showroom this week, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. or on the weekend between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. All donations will be shipped out next Monday, Nov. 19, with the help of Unishippers, according to Dawn Kirkman.
In the meantime, East Coasters will be getting a light of hope with Kirkman’s generous donation of the lanterns.
“They’re having a heck of a time getting power established,” Kirkman said. “It’s going to be a while before they get everything back to normal.”