Local groups come together to help victims of Hurricane Sandy
The local chapter of the American Red Cross and other local groups are doing their part to help victims of Hurricane Sandy that hit the Northeast last month.
Other groups include Midway Fire and Rescue, Journeychurch, The Grand Theatre and Coastal Carolina Shields.
According to Nanci Conley, executive director for the American Red Cross, Coastal South Carolina Chapter, nearly 5,900 Red Cross workers are assigned to operations from North Carolina to Rhode Island, with the majority still in New York and New Jersey.
Currently, there are 12 local volunteers deployed, helping the Red Cross provide food, shelter, supplies and comfort, she said.
“The Red Cross has sent thousands of blankets and hand warmers to New York and New Jersey, and will be supporting some warming centers in the area,” Conley said.
“Shelters are open throughout the impacted area where people can escape the cold, get a hot meal and get the latest information on help available to them. An extensive feeding operation is underway to get hot meals to residents in New Jersey and all five boroughs of New York. As we learn about specific neighborhoods in need, we are immediately putting plans in place to provide people with food, water, relief supplies and comfort.”
To make donations, call the local chapter of the Red Cross at 843-477-0020, or visit redcross.org.
— From American
Midway Fire and Rescue
That’s the word Lt. Henry Hulit of Midway Fire Rescue uses to describe the week he spent aiding Hurricane Sandy victims in the Northeast.
“You watch it on the news and it’s awful, but it’s impersonal,” Hulit said. “When your feet are actually on the ground there and you’re talking to people who were devastated by the storm, that’s a whole different thing.”
Hulit was in New York for 12 days earlier this month as part of South Carolina’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team (SC-1 DMAT). He was stationed for most of that time at Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y., where he provided medical assistance in two shelters, including a nursing facility for the displaced elderly and invalid population. There were 80 patients there in need of constant care.
The other shelter he worked in was run by the Red Cross and had 1,200 beds, of which 843 were occupied.
Hulit was tasked with helping people get prescription medications they needed, stitching up injuries and tending patients with ailments such as asthma. But he was also a listening ear for many of those he encountered.
He recalls his third night in New York, when he listened to a former Marine who was in tears because his home was destroyed by floodwaters. The man had just returned from two tours in Afghanistan only to find himself homeless, Hulit said. Another couple he talked with had been together 56 years. The storm claimed everything they owned except the clothes on their backs and some prescription medication.
“It was nonstop like that for seven days,” Hulit said. “These people’s whole lives have been changed. Before, they got up, went to work and came home. Now, they wake up in a shelter, figure out which bus to take to get back to their house and how much time they have before the 5 o’clock curfew. They have to decide whether to get more groceries to bring back to the shelter or figure out how to wash their clothes in the time they have. Their lives are completely turned upside down.”
It was impossible for Hulit not to think about how easily his friends and neighbors back home could find themselves in a very similar position with the next hurricane season.
“It really hit home, the fact that it could happen to us,” Hulit said.
Hulit has been notified he may be recalled to New York with SC-1 DMAT, but hasn’t received confirmation.
Georgetown County employees are raising money for the Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.
Donations will be collected at Midway’s headquarters station in Litchfield on Nov. 28.
The public is welcome to drop off contributions. Checks may be made payable to the American Red Cross. Donations can also be made online to http://american.redcross.org/georgetownpublic-emp.
— From Midway Fire and Rescue
Coastal Carolina Shields
Pawleys Police Chief Mike Fanning was part of a relief effort for Sandy victims on Nov. 4 and 5 across from the Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet.
The Coastal Carolina Shields, a group of retired law enforcement officers, collected items with help from the public and sent three truckloads of food and supplies to areas in New York and New Jersey.
Fanning said the group may do another drive closer to the Christmas holiday.
— From Chief
and The Grand Theatre
Journeychurch and The Grand Theatre in Surfside Beach are partnering with Operation Blessing and collecting disaster relief items for victims of Sandy.
Storage pods have been set up in two locations, and the items will be delivered to coastal New Jersey on Nov. 30.
“We have many church members, theatre patrons, and friends with connections to the area devastated by the hurricane,” says Pastor Tom Wallace.
“We also have a very visible location with which to attract attention of those who want to help. It is always our desire to help the community however we can, and the northeast is an extension of our community.”
Suggested items to provide include non-perishable foods, paper products, baby care items, blankets, towels, batteries, coats, hats, gloves, socks, undergarments, and garbage bags. New items are preferred according to The Salvation Army.
Drop-off locations are at The Grand Theatre (home of journeychurch), 301 Highway 17 South in Surfside Beach, and Waterbridge Sales Center, 473 Starlit Drive just off Carolina Forest Boulevard in Myrtle Beach.
Items should be dropped off to either location by Nov. 26. Ticketed patrons who bring items to any show at The Grand Theatre will receive a free popcorn and drink at the concession stand.
Questions can be directed to the journeychurch office at 843-357-2100.
— From Journeychurch
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