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'Disaster after the disaster': Unwanted donations give rise to debate

By Geoff Mulvihill

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Nov. 9 2012 12:59 p.m. MST

NBC and ABC held campaigns that brought in a combined $40 million. Some would-be participants in the canceled New York City Marathon turned a day of running into a day of service.

Lady Gaga donated $1 million, one of many celebrity-driven efforts. The Marshall Tucker Band is loading up a tour truck in South Carolina to ship goods; comedian Louis C.K. is planning a benefit show in New York City's hard-hit borough of Staten Island.

A group of Philadelphia-area businesses is sending 7,500 boxed lunches to the Jersey shore for victims and volunteers. The Humane Society of America and some corporate partners are donating 40,000 pounds of food and medicine for displaced pets.

Despite relief organizations' advice, some people are still taking matters into their own hands because they can't stand to see suffering.

In Towson, Md., Lee Giroux isn't being picky about what will be accepted at a fundraiser, featuring most of Baltimore's food trucks, scheduled for Saturday. Anything people want to send, she said, she'll take.

Among the items she's asking people to provide are grills and charcoal to cook for aid workers. Her plan is to take a caravan of trucks from place to place unloading whatever is needed.

Giroux, a New Jersey native, said she has been speaking with people in the state's Berkeley Township, where her father lives. She has heard from officials and acquaintances there that many more supplies are needed, and she's not buying that the established groups have distribution under control.

"The Red Cross can't keep up with the demand," she said.

Follow Mulvihill at http://www.twitter.com/geoffmulvihill, Associated Press reporter Brett Zongker in Washington contributed to this report.

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