County rallies to collect donations for LA flood victims

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Multiple donation drives  are going on throughout the county for flood victims in Louisiana.  Submitted Photo

Multiple donation drives are going on throughout the county for flood victims in Louisiana.
Submitted Photo

Recent flooding in Louisiana has inspired local residents to collect supplies for thousands of flood victims.
“I was doing a drive particularly for one of my family members who lost everything,” local resident Stacey Westbrook said.
She has since begun to collect supplies for the general public, fighting closed roads as far as she can make it.
“I decided that I needed to continue with it,” Westbrook said. “As far as I can get right now is Hammond.”
She has been working with Louisiana churches to deliver what supplies she can. Though, she has been told Interstate 12 could be reopened by Thursday.
The Times-Picayune reported that over 10,000 flood victims are in temporary shelters near Baton Rouge, with more expected to arrive this week.
Motorists were trapped on a stretch of Interstate 12 on Sunday, but have since been rescued. Many left their vehicles behind, states the Times-Picayune.
Westbrook, a bus driver for the Pearl River County School District, has enlisted the help of Superintendent Alan Lumpkin to collect supplies.
“I can’t physically pick stuff up but I can organize things,” Westbrook said. “My home has flooded a million times so I know what that’s like.”
Knights Ace Hardware of Poplarville has also donated a large amount of cleaning supplies to a group led by local resident Dena Shaw.
Shaw is working with other members of the community to bring supplies to the affected parishes this weekend.
Four Louisiana parishes have been declared as major disaster areas by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“I’m a sister, I’m a daughter and I’m a niece to those that are hurting,” Shaw said.
Lee Cooley has donated two retired army trucks to help haul the supplies to Louisiana, he said.
“I’m retired military and I’m used to doing stuff like this and I have the trucks,” Cooley said. “I’m using anything I can to help the people down there.”
Shaw and Cooley will be loading supplies at Knight’s Ace Hardware in Poplarville Friday morning before delivering the supplies on Saturday, she said.
Knight’s Ace Hardware is also accepting monetary donations over the phone, Cooley said.
“Every penny is going to Louisiana,” Cooley said, whose mother owns Kloze Klozet and is also donating items.
Shaw is hoping to deliver most of the supplies to Livingston Parish, which has suffered extreme flooding, forcing many residents to leave their homes, she said.
“If you can’t do time, and you can’t do money you can always do a prayer,” Shaw said.
Westbrook will be holding a supply drive in Picayune beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Supplies should be brought to First United Methodist Church in Picayune located on North Haugh Avenue.
She is asking for clothing, toiletry and cleaning items, though other donations will also be accepted.
“Most people have absolutely nothing…they’re going back to nothing,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook asked that all donations to be placed in bags and labeled.
“It’s community here helping community there,” Shaw said.

Donations are also being accepted at:

  • Big Time Vapes at 711 Memorial Blvd. in Picayune. For more information please call 601-337-6466.
  •  424 Memorial Blvd. Picayune. (The old Dixie Glass Building). Hours 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Volunteers welcome. 

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About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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