UPPER EAST SIDE — When David Guilford started a supply drive for victims of Hurricane Sandy with only a few handmade signs, he had no idea he would collect enough donations to fill moving van after moving van.
The pop-up charity of sorts began last week when Guilford, a 35-year-old firefighter and Upper East Side resident, brainstormed ways he could help victims of the storm, which has claimed 41 lives and left up to 40,000 homeless.
Last Thurs., Nov. 1, Guilford wound up chatting with the owners of Molly Pitcher's Ale House, on Second Avenue at East 85th Street, asking management if he could use the sports bar as a drop-off location for donations from Fri., Nov. 2, until Sun., Nov. 4.
They agreed, and Guilford spent last Thursday night making signs in his apartment and setting up a Facebook page with donation instructions.
Then, around 6:30 a.m. that Friday, Guilford started posting signs around the neighborhood.
People on their way to work saw the notices and returned after 5 p.m., carrying with them enough supplies to pack an entire moving van, he said.
But there were so many items that Guilfod and other volunteers had to send the remaining goods on Saturday. The shipments were destined for the hardest-hit areas, such as the Rockaways and Long Beach.
"I slept in my car overnight just to keep an eye on all the goods," Guilford said.
Last weekend's efforts resulted in a total of nine such trucks delivering relief supplies — and another mobilization will take place again this Sat., Nov. 10, and Sun., Nov. 11.
In addition, more than 500 people have "liked" the Facebook page since its creation.
Donations will be accepted from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, and the drop-off point will be Molly Pitcher's.
Three trucks are scheduled to depart from the drop-off site per day, though Guilford expects that they could easily fill four.
Looking back, he never expected such a huge turnout.
"I wanted to get involved, so I said, 'Why dont we just start a little donation box?'" he said.