When it comes to aiding victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and surrounding areas, local residents are proving they have hearts as big as the Lone Star State.
In the wake of other efforts mounted early on to provide supplies needed in the stricken areas, have come announcements regarding additional flood relief drives among Surry County businesses, churches and the Mount Airy city government.
Two local businesses, Advanced Electronic Services (AES) and WorkForce Unlimited, launched a joint Hurricane Harvey collection drive on Tuesday, which will continue through next Friday.
“This started with AES,” said Melissa Hooker, human resources manager at WorkForce Unlimited, which was asked to partner with the other local business, along with aiding a “bucket list” campaign of Central United Methodist Church.
Both AES, located at 101 Technology Lane off Riverside Drive, and WorkForce Unlimited, at 1908 Caudle Drive off U.S. 52, are serving as collection points for the public to contribute various cleaning and hygiene products.
The list of items sought includes most anything one might need in terms of basic survival in a flood-ravaged area, such as liquid laundry detergent and household cleaner (non-spray), dish soap, heavy-duty trash bags, dishwashing and work gloves, scrub brushes with plastic or wooden handles, air freshener, wash cloths, hand towels, toothbrushes, combs, metal nail files, sponges, clotheslines and clothespins, dust masks, adhesive bandages, combs, monetary donations and more.
Other donated items occupying a hallway at WorkForce Unlimited Thursday included non-perishable foods such as dry cereals and clothing.
“We’ll take anything,” Allison Poteat, support manager at the business, said regarding any number of items people might require under difficult circumstances.
Supplies amassed this week at WorkForce Unlimited were scheduled to be shipped out Friday by Firehouse Ministries, another local entity involved in relief efforts. WorkForce officials are hoping for more donations until the drive ends next Friday.
“We have a storage unit,” Hooker said of how the items will be kept until transported to Texas.
The effort by WorkForce Unlimited and AES also is being held in conjunction with a project of Central United Methodist Church through a program called UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).
It involves preparing hygiene kits and cleaning buckets in the form of five-gallon buckets pre-packed with materials of the type being collected by AES and WorkForce Unlimited.
“They just asked us to be a collection site for them,” Hooker said.
A complete list of items sought along with assembly and related instructions can be found online at www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies by clicking on links labeled Cleaning Kit and Hygiene Kit.
In addition to such supplies being collected at AES and WorkForce Unlimited, the materials can be delivered to Central United Methodist Church at 1909 N. Main St. from Monday through Friday of next week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations also will be accepted there on Sept. 18 until noon.
City officials announced during a meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners Thursday afternoon that the city government will be partnering with local Veterans of Foreign Wars members on a campaign previously announced.
The VFW will be collecting supplies on Sept. 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, which city personnel will assist.
This includes placing boxes in the city departments for donations, which municipal personnel will take to Veterans Memorial Park next Friday to be loaded. Anyone wanting to contribute supplies can bring them to City Hall, or to the park on Sept. 16.
Items specified include baby supplies (food/diapers/formula/wipes/etc.), feminine products, bottled water, canned foods, non-perishable foods/snacks, clothing/underwear/socks, toothbrushes/toothpaste, toiletries, laundry detergent/dish detergent, supplies for animals, animal crates, blankets, trash bags, 20-gallon totes with lids, first-aid kits and bandages.
“I hope everybody can make a donation to those in need,” Mayor David Rowe said at Thursday’s meeting. “I think we need to remember our brothers and sisters in the Texas area.”
The mayor also was philosophical about the situation there and how devastation and chaos ironically has brought people together.
“Do we have to have a flood to recognize that there’s no difference between black and white?”
Central Surry effort
An earlier campaign to help Hurricane Harvey victims was mounted last week by the Central Surry Volunteer Fire Department at Dobson.
It involved filling a trailer with bottled water and large array of other supplies to be transported to Texas, which occurred on Monday, according to a Facebook posting.
This campaign was aided by the 53-foot trailer supplied by Dude Smith Trucking and by Dobson Trucking, which pulled it to Texas.
The rig was expected to be packed for the trip.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.