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Quaker Valley collecting money for Sandy victims

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

As many in the Sewickley Valley prepare for traditional family gatherings for the holidays, complete with festive trees, lights and food, some families no more than seven hours away likely will spend the holiday season still cleaning up from the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Quaker Valley High School administrative assistant Donna Adipietro said she's hoping that holiday spirit will help Sewickley Valley residents donate to a relief effort she has spearheaded across Quaker Valley School District.

“I'm still in shock about the amount of damage done to a lot of those areas,” the Brooklyn-born and Manhattan-raised Adipietro said. “Even though I've been here for a very long time, that's still my home. That's what sparked (the donation effort).”

As the Leet Township emergency management coordinator, Adipietro said she knows what goes on behind the scenes of disasters such as Superstorm Sandy, which affected 24 states and caused at least $60 billion in damage.

It's difficult putting into reality what the more than $60 billion figure means in terms of lives affected, said Adipietro, whose aunt lives in New York City.

“(Adipietro's aunt) was a lucky one not to lose power,” Adipietro said.

Adipietro's brother works for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and was stationed in New York City assisting relief efforts.

“It's not only (people) losing their homes, but possibly the areas where they worked, as well,” she said.

“It's history. It's memories. The whole nine yards. It's very, very sad thinking about the people who were put out of their homes, the businesses that were lost.

“It's a life-altering experience.”

Adipietro's monetary collection drive will continue through mid-January, she said. All money collected will be donated to a specific American Red Cross Disaster relief fund benefiting areas affected in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Adipietro said.

She began collecting money after Thanksgiving.

“The response has been good,” Adipietro said.

Students and staff across Quaker Valley schools already have collected more than $1,200, including $800 of which came from a middle school hot chocolate fundraiser.

On Dec. 21, high school students will have a chance to throw a pie at staff members — including Adipietro — who volunteered.

“I figured I'm sure there are a few kids who wouldn't mind (throwing a pie at me),” Adipietro said with a laugh.

While she didn't set a goal for what she'd like to collect, she said she told students she'd add $20 for every $100 high school students donated on their own.

“Hopefully I won't be eating crow and pie at the same time,” Adipietro said.

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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