Senator Witkos Supports Harwinton Back to School Drive to Collect Supplies for Students in Tornado-Ravaged Moore, Oklahoma [Register Citizen]

August 15, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Register Citizen on August 12, 2013

HARWINTON — Rep. John Piscopo (R-Thomaston) and state Senators Jason Welch (R-Bristol) and Kevin Witkos (R-Canton), in collaboration with the Harwinton Relief Effort for Moore, Ok., will be hosting a back to school drive for families in Oklahoma on Wednesday, Aug. 14 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Nexus Consulting, 200 Birge Park Road, Harwinton.

Schools were badly damaged or completely destroyed when the powerful EF-5 tornado struck this past May.

John DiCostanzo, of Harwinton, said he and two friends organized the original collection drive. All three are originally from Newtown, which DiCostanzo said motivated their decision to take action in support of the tornado victims. DiCostanzo owns Nexus Consulting, where the drive will be held.

The members of the group said they are committed to pay forward to the people of Moore, the kindness and generosity that was received when the tragedy at Sandy Hook occurred last December. One of DiCostanzo’s friends still resides in Newtown and his son is a surviving first grader of the massacre.

This is the third collection effort by the group, who again, will be driving all donated items personally to the people of Moore.

“We all saw what was happening in Oklahoma,” DiCostanzo said previously. “We saw the outpouring of support for our community. We thought we should do something.”

For the first drive in May, the men collected anything people were willing to give. They headed out to Oklahoma to transport the goods on May 24. While they were there, DiCostanza said the group established contacts with people on the ground. The group packed up more supplies and headed back to Moore in June.

The focus of this collection effort is “Back to School.” Relief groups in Oklahoma have advised that the need is for school supplies for children, who will be attending classes at alternate sites while their schools are rebuilt. The elementary schools were badly damaged, and, in the case of Plaza Towers, completely destroyed, by the tornado.

Donations needed at this time include pens, pencils, crayons, markers, colored chalk, rulers, backpacks, lunchboxes, balls (baseball, football, soccer, tennis, softball) bats, gloves, gym socks, shin guards, mouth guards, shorts and t-shirts. Musical instruments are also needed. They do not need to be new, but they should be in playable condition.

For information on making donations outside of the event time, call John DiCostanzo at 203-648-0598.