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Last updated: February 19. 2013 3:55PM - 842 Views

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SCRANTON ‚?? Ask certain people to help you fix a problem and, depending on what it is, they‚??re likely to reach for a roll of duct tape.
Scranton residents Tara E. Kojsza, Jennifer Snyder, and Casey Welby, are using their own brand of the handyman‚??s secret weapon this week to fix problems at the Jersey Shore caused by Superstorm Sandy.
Inspired in part by the duct tape-based artwork of her late sister Valerie, Ms. Kojsza began Project Duct Tape this weekend in an effort to gather and deliver supplies to some of the most affected communities in the neighboring state.
‚??I‚??m at home Friday on the couch, watching the (NBC benefit) concert,‚?Ě she recalled. ‚??I donated to the Red Cross, but I said, ‚??I want to do more. I have time. What can I do?‚??‚?Ě
Using her North Scranton eatery, Jessee‚??s Place Ice Cream and Hoagies, 426 Bartel St., Scranton, as an outlet, she began the donation drive Monday that ends Tuesday at 6 p.m.
What began Saturday night with a post on the business‚?? Facebook profile translated into an unexpected showing of support from Scranton area residents. Donations were nearly out the door on Tuesday morning minutes after a 10 a.m. opening with a steady stream of products ‚?? from clothing and children‚??s toys to canned goods and hygiene products ‚?? delivered by other donors. Kojsza‚??s mother, Lori Zepponi, said some bags were piled outside the door when she arrived earlier today.
‚??I have gotten an overwhelming response of people that are coming today,‚?Ě Kojsza said.
Kojsza, Snyder, and Welby are set to travel to New Jersey beginning at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to hand-deliver the items collected and volunteer their time to clean some of the mess Sandy left behind. They will follow the directions of New Jersey State Police with a goal of directly helping the areas of Tom‚??s River, Point Pleasant, and Seaside Heights, N.J.
‚??I want to know exactly where it‚??s going. I want to know we‚??re directly helping these people,‚?Ě Kojsza, 37, said.
The fix-all duct-tape mentality inspired by her late sister‚??s work fits with what will become an expanded mission for the project that shares its name.
‚??If you look up the definition of duct tape, it‚??s almost a temporary, quality fix,‚?Ě Kojsza explained. ‚??What could be more appropriate?‚?Ě The project fueled by ‚??social media and real people‚?Ě falls in line with the way Valerie, 21, lived her life. Kojsza recalled the ‚??little humanitarian‚??s‚?Ě sponsorship of a manatee when she was in the seventh or eighth grade.
The movement is catching fire quickly, gathering $500 in donations from the Dunmore Rotary on Monday evening and social support from Scrantonian Bob Savakinus, according to Kojsza.
A website for Project Duct Tape is currently in development.
Contact Jessee‚??s Place at (570) 343-1900 for more information.
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