Local groups are gathering supplies to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
In 2016, eastern North Carolina was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. Many local residents donated food supplies, water, clothing and other essentials to those who lost so much in the flooding. Now those same kind souls are stepping up to help folks in Houston.
On Friday, Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care posted a notice on Facebook that it was partnering with Northern Hospital, AES, SouthData and Firehouse Ministries to collect goods.
“We will then send the items to a church there, Abundant Life Willis, (which) will distribute the items among the community for us,” the posts says. “Attached is a list of items we’re collecting.”
That list includes: bottled water; canned meat; ready-to-eat foods or nonperishable foods that can be made without cooking; handheld can openers; and paper products such as cups, napkins and paper towels.
Other needs are diapers (both babies and seniors), wipes, toothpaste and brushes, toiletries, toilet paper, bandages, laundry detergent, feminine products, cleaning supplies, work gloves, trash bags and dish-washing liquid.
“You can drop them off at any Mountain Valley Hospice location,” said the notice. This includes its Mount Airy office off Riverside Drive between Mount Airy Oil and SouthData, the Dobson location on Zephyr Road, and the Pilot Mountain location on Veterans Drive near the Pilot Knob Volunteer Fire Department.
This collection drive will only last until Friday.
Right behind that, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2019 and the VFW Auxiliary are loading up a semi on Sept. 16 to drive to Houston.
Post Commander Dave Raborn said veterans have done their military service, but they still like to do their community service, and this is an important one.
Raborn named many of the same needs as the hospice notice, but also mentioned baby apparel and pet food. A lot of animal lovers have been touched by all the dogs and cats rescued, but now the shelters have to feed them just like the people, he pointed out.
“Of course, with a natural disaster like Harvey, everybody needs everything down there,” he added.
With the flooding in Lumberton last year, the local VFW not only sent supplies, but also some cash donations to the closest VFW post there so that supplies that were of the most dire need could be purchased if necessary, he recalled.
He said the VFW isn’t sending any cash at this time, but that could be something that is considered down the road, and the post could hold a drive or fundraiser for that.
The VFW is a nonprofit organization, Raborn noted. So, if people or businesses do give supplies, the VFW can provide a receipt for donations that can be filed with the 2017 tax returns.
Sure, there are other nonprofit organizations that assist in times of crisis, but those groups have a lot of overhead, he noted. They have paid employees and rent on buildings to worry about, but for this disaster drive, every single thing that is donated to the VFW will go directly to someone in need.
He said the VFW is in discussions with local trucking companies about getting the use of a truck and trailer. If need be, the VFW can work on donations to cover the cost of diesel fuel to get the truck there and back, he added.
“Mount Airy is a community that cares,” said Raborn. The city has always supported the VFW and the Auxiliary, and Post 2019 wants to pass that spirit of generosity on to those in need.
Raborn said he would love some corporate sponsorship, but would be pleased with community donations.
The trailer will be open for dropoffs on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If people have items to give, and that time doesn’t fit with other obligations, Raborn said folks can call him to make special arrangements at (336) 648-7709.