Local News

Community Rallies To Help Kinston Plant Employees

Posted January 31, 2003

— There has been an outpouring of community support for the victims of Wednesday's explosion and fire at the West Pharmaceutical plant in Kinston.

Hundreds of people from Kinston and other communities gathered at the Vernon Park Mall Thursday to donate blood.

Many people waited in line for up to four hours, but said it was a small price to pay.

"It's worth the wait to help someone out," said one resident. "When anything like this happens, it affects the whole community because it is one big family. And when something happens to a family everyone hurts."

The Red Cross is holding another blood drive on Sunday at the Trinity Methodist Church in Kinston from noon until 6 p.m.

The Kinston Chamber of Commerce and the United Way have created a fund for the workers and their families.

West Pharmaceutical was the 10th largest private employer in the town with 255 employees. The city has offered the company office and storage space until it can get back on its feet.

"The thing about the West company is they have always supported the community through the United Way, and have helped hundreds of people throughout the county. This is our opportunity to give back. Every contribution that comes into the fund will go to support victims and their families," said June Cummings of the United Way.

Cummings said applications for the money will be accepted next week.

A local media group is sponsoring a radio drive to raise money for victims and their families.

Participating radio stations have already raised over $52,000, including a $15,000 donation from a Kinston car dealership, according to Next Media Group.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can

contribute online

, by calling (252) 522-4141 or (800) 260-0933.

Checks and money orders can be mailed to:

West Pharmaceutical Company Fund 2030 Banks School Road Kinston, N.C. 28504

Wachovia Bank 1903 West Vernon Ave Kinston, N.C. 28504

The fundraising drive continues through next week.


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