Local News

Donations On Way for Floyd Victims

Posted September 19, 1999

— With much of eastern North Carolina still in the grip of Hurricane Floyd's devastation, the entire Tar Heel state is trying to provide a measure of relief.

Donation centers are set up across the state.

One of them, in downtown Fayetteville, had bags of donated goods by noon -- and the center had just been open a few hours.

People are finding their way to First Presbyterian Church, which is coordinating the donation effort with Cumberland County Emergency Management.

They have brought cleaning supplies, baby goods (especially diapers), cat litter, water, brooms, shovels, bleach and canned goods.

Many Tar Heel residents are aware that Hurricane Floyd's path might have veered ever so slightly and caught them in the disaster. Carl Adams brought donations by, noting that the people who are victims are only "25 to 50 miles away." He sympathized with their "desperate straits."

The donations will be collected at First Presbyterian for several days, but the first shipment may head out by noon Tuesday.

As volunteer Herman Dunn helped unload donations, he said he has never experienced what the people of eastern North Carolina are going through.

"(But) I know how they feel from my heart," he said.

The American Red Cross is also mobilized to receive donations, but in the interest of efficiency, they suggest that checks or cash be given. Having to move canned goods or bottled water into a disaster area actually can slow relief efforts. It is more efficient to take money to the area and buy supplies nearby.

And, in a very generous move, an anonymous North Carolina donor already presented $30,000 to the American Red Cross for Floyd relief.

Even though few people are in a position to write a check of that size, all donations are sure to be gratefully received.

A grass-roots relief effort in Sanford took just two and a half days to fill a semi-trailer full of supplies for flooding victims.

Hundreds of people came to the the town's Veterans of Foreign Wars office to drop off what they could. Jolene Gillis not only donated supplies, but she also spent all day packing and loading them.

"It could have been us. It was like this close to being us, and I feel sorry for all those people. I really do," said Gillis.

On Saturday, organizers made a plea for help through the local newspaper and radio stations. They quickly began collecting anything and everything flood victims may need.

"We thought we'd start a program, and we were hoping for maybe two, maybe three pick-up loads and go down as a small convoy. As you can see, it's escalated to about 10 times what we anticipated," said Don Hancock of the Sanford VFW.

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, a trailer full of supplies will be sent to the Emergency Operations Center in Tarboro. Sanford residents hope to fill up two more trailers later this week and send at least one of them to Greenville.

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