Delaware opens its heart, wallet for hurricane victims

Ronald Ringgold and Catherine Bassett of Allen Harim Foods are driving a refrigerated company truck loaded with 40,000 pounds of chicken down to Houston to help feed hurricane victims. The chicken will be donated to Operation BBQ Relief, an organization that has mobilized and is on the ground in Texas feeding first responders and those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. (Submitted)

DOVER — As the employees of Allen Harim Foods in their Seaford headquarters watched Hurricane Harvey converge unfold over the weekend, many thought to themselves: ‘that could be us.’

“It’s hard to sit back and feel helpless when a situation like this is going on,” said Allen Harim spokeswoman Catherine Bassett. “We live in a coastal area. Who knows? Delmarva could get hit by something like that one day. We thought it was important to try to do something to help.”

As of Thursday afternoon, one of their company refrigerated semis was trundling across the Bay Bridge packed with 40,000 pounds of chicken bound for downtown Houston, Texas, to support the massive relief effort. They expected to reach Tennessee by Thursday evening, travel all of today and arrive on Saturday morning. Their plan is to help resupply Operation BBQ Relief, an organization that has mobilized and is on the ground in Texas feeding first responders and those impacted by the hurricane.

“They’ve set up a whole bunch of grills, smokers and all kinds of stuff right in Houston about a block from the convention center and they’re feeding people,” said Ms. Bassett. “They’re a great nonprofit that goes around the country and deploys in disaster areas to provide whatever help they can.”

The storm, potentially one of the most destructive to ever hit the United States, has dropped more than 50 inches of rain and resulted in at least 21 deaths.

Local nonprofits and National Guardsmen have been mobilizing to help the millions of people affected by the hurricane, since earlier in the week. But Delaware businesses and private citizen are doing their part to help too.

Dover residents Megan and Jon Lloyd Jr., plan to rent a large cargo van from Enterprise and have been collecting supply donations to take down to Texas on Saturday.

A truck is loaded with 8,000 pounds of chicken to be delivered to Texas to help hurricane victims. (Submitted)

“We want to make a difference and it only takes one person to get something started,” said Ms. Lloyd. “I couldn’t imagine if it was us down there and no one wanted to come out and help. With everything in this world right now, it’s important. Since this has happened and so many people have come together, I haven’t seen anything about all the racism talk that’s been on the news.”

Ms. Lloyd said that although their trip will be self-funded, Enterprise agreed to give them a large discount on the vehicle and both people and businesses are raining donations down on them.

“We’ve had about five different companies and about 20 different residents come by to make donations,” she said on Thursday. “Playtex (Edgewell Personal Care) dropped off a ton of latex gloves, soap, sunscreen, tampons and more. People have donated a ton of water and clothing too.”

Mr. Lloyd, in the company of a fellow Dover firefighter, plans to depart on Saturday morning and drop the goods off at a church or Red Cross camp near the disaster area. They are hoping to pack the cargo van full to the top. Those interested in making a donation can drop off at one of their two sites at Christiana Fire Company on 2 East Main St. in Christiana or the Nationwide Insurance on 905 N. DuPont Highway in Dover between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. today.

Other community
drives and efforts

• Caesar Rodney School District will be running “Hats for Houston” and “Trousers for Texas” campaigns at all 12 of their schools on Sept. 8. Students can donate $1 to wear a hat to school and staff can donate $1 to wear jeans. The district is still deciding which charity to distribute the funds to, but Star Hill Elementary staff is working to “adopt” an elementary school in Texas to raise funds for.

•Harrington Raceway and Casino, working with USO Delaware, is holding a donation drive on Sept. 1-2 from 2-10 p.m. called “Harvey Hurts But We Can Help,” to benefit hurricane victims in Texas and Louisiana. Customers can bring $10 gift cards from the following outlets: Visa/Mastercard, Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club and Costco. In exchange for the gift cards, the customer will receive $25 in free slot play at the casino. One hundred percent of the donated gift cards will be distributed by USO Delaware for needed supplies in the disaster area.

•Realtors across Delaware are joining with the National Association of Realtors to help address the housing needs of hurricane victims. The Delaware Association of Realtors and the Sussex County Association of Realtors have each contributed $5,000 to NAR’s Realtor Relief Foundation. This charitable foundation provides housing-related assistance to those who have survived catastrophic loss, providing the money for mortgage and rental assistance. The organization distributes 100 percent of all funds collected to disaster relief causes. For more information or to donate to the Realtor Relief Foundation effort, visit nar.realtor/programs/realtors-relief-foundation.

•The Blood Bank of Delmarva is seeking donors to help collect more than 2,000 units of blood due to a shortage along the Gulf Coast. The Blood Bank is specifically looking for individuals with blood types O Positive, O Negative, A Negative and B Negative blood types, as well as platelet donors. To make an appointment, call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or visit https://donate.bbd.org/.

•CHEER, Inc., along with Joshua House Ministries of Dagsboro, is offering its activity centers in Sussex County as drop-off points for donations to be sent to Texas and Louisiana for hurricane victims. For the next few weeks, people can bring their donations to centers located in Georgetown, Greenwood, Lewes, Long Neck, Milton, Ocean View and Roxana. Joshua House Ministries will transport the items to the disaster areas.

Items requested are: non-perishable canned goods, Boost, Ensure and water and personal items like tooth brushes, tooth paste, mouth wash, Denture Crème, combs and brushes, deodorant, body wipes, Depends, Pampers, baby powder and baby wipes. No more clothing is needed, and no money or gift cards will be collected. For more information or directions, call your local CHEER center.

•Delaware State Fire School issued a warning against “self-dispatching” to help in Texas during the disaster. Teams, like the swift-water rescue teams in the region, are being requested by FEMA as a coordinated effort. The school recommends instead to make donations or visit FEMA’s help guide at fema.gov/news-release/2017/08/29/how-help-disaster-survivors-texas.

•Home Builders Association of Delaware is working with Two Men and a Truck are challenging residents to “Stuff the Truck” with supplies for hurricane victims. Drop-off locations in Dover, Lewes, Middletown and Bear. The truck will leave when it’s full. For information on requested items and drop-off locations, email info@hbade.org or call (302) 678-1520.

•Grass Roots Rescue and Renee’s Rescues are teaming up to accept 12 foster dogs that were rescued from the disaster area in Texas. They are taking dogs already in the Texas shelter systems to make room for the ones coming in. The organizations are in search of volunteer dog foster parents. Visit reneesrescues.org/ or grrde.org/about-grass-roots-rescue/ for more information

•Wesley College women’s lacrosse and softball teams responded to a University of Houston’s men’s basketball coach who requested shirt and shoe donations from schools around the country. The women’s teams were able to collect 100 pieces of lacrosse and softball team apparel and several cleats to send to Texas. The men’s basketball team sent out 22 shirts earlier this week.

National efforts

•The Salvation Army and the Red Cross are among the groups asking people to donate money. Individuals can contribute to the Salvation Army in several ways: by going to helpsalvationarmy.org, calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, texting STORM to 51555 or sending a check to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1959, Atlanta, Ga., 30301 (designate “Hurricane Harvey” on all checks). Donations to the Red Cross can be made online at redcross.org or over the phone at 1-800-RED CROSS. A $10 contribution can be made by texting HARVEY to 90999.

•Visit samaritanspurse.org/# to donate or volunteer for Hurricane Harvey relief.

•Text UWFLOOD to 41444 to donate to the United Way Relief Fund.

•Visit houstonhumane.org/(Give)/giving/general-donation to help animals displaced by the hurricane.

 

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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