NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Shocking images showing the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma have a lot of people wanting to help out, so many so that food banks have run out of room down south.
Luckily, a group of local businesses are stepping forward to offer space.
The forklifts inside the Island Harvest warehouse in Suffolk County operate nonstop.
The Hauppauge-based food bank is overflowing with 60 tons of donated goods stacked to the ceiling and filling the building’s many aisles.
Managers at the food bank say Long Islanders have donated truckloads of bottled water, diapers, canned foods, pillows, and toys; enough to fill all three of their warehouses.
Yet, they have not been able to ship any of it to the affected areas because the badly damages infrastructure.
“There’s no electricity, no refrigeration, and to get it into some of these areas you cannot pass through,” Migdalia Otero from Island Harvest said. “It’s not allowed.”
The food bank put out a call for space. Two local businesses quickly responded, including a landlord Craig Padover, who offered his warehouse space for temporary storage.
Padover says the disaster struck home when one of his own employees lost a family home and business in Key West.
“I think that’s what makes the country what it really is,” he said. “You watch on TV in times of tragedy when you see people suffering, so much of the country gathers together to do what they can.”
Instead of taking goods directly to Florida, warehouse workers are unloading their trucks inside Padover’s warehouse. They too have put in long hours to lend a hand, remembering how the country did the same following Superstorm Sandy.
“Because I was in bad shape and needed help, and it feels good to pay it back,” Island Harvest employee Ralph Pagan said.
Meanwhile, the food bank is intending it’s first shipment to include badly needed bottled water and pop-top cans of food that can easily be opened.
Late Wednesday, Island Harvest lined up refrigeration space in Savannah, Georgia and expects it will send its first truckload south Thursday morning.