Disaster relief donations collected throughout Picayune

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

Through a couple of personal connections with distribution centers in Houston, Keith Merchant and Brandi Cathcart learned exactly what flood victims in Texas need most and have implemented donation centers throughout Pearl River County to collect those supplies.
Donations are being collected at three centers throughout Picayune, and one at the Stennis Space Center, with the hope of getting as many donations as possible.
“Our main thing is to collect cleaning supplies, personal hygiene supplies, baby supplies and food for everyone,” Cathcart said.
Because most distribution centers already have plenty of clothes, Cathcart said they will not accept any clothing donations, but are accepting any other contributions people are willing to provide, including money and gift cards, which can be taken to the First Southern Bank in Picayune or to any donation site.
The main donation center in Picayune is at the Crystal Palace reception hall located on Highway 43 North. The other two sites in town are at Big Time Vapes and Walker’s Collision Center.
With floods occurring regularly along the Gulf Coast, Cathcart has been involved in collecting donations for natural disasters before. She said she uses that experience to gather the supplies others may not think about.
“I am basing what we are collecting on what I remember people in the Louisiana floods of last year needed the most, which was cleaning supplies mostly, but also food and toiletries,” Cathcart said.
She said multiple trucks will take the donations to Houston Friday, Sept. 8. Donations will be collected every day until Friday.
“We need anything we can get, from $5 to a whole rack of water bottles, every little bit counts,” she said.
The American Legion McSween-Johnston Post 73 in Picayune is also collecting disaster relief donations with plans to send a load to Texas or Louisiana on Sept. 13.
Requested donations include: diapers, baby wipes, powdered baby formula, women’s toiletries, tarps, power tools, chain saws, heavy-duty work gloves, generators, solar USB chargers, batteries and liquid mold remover, according to an American Legion release. Any money donated will be used to purchase $50 gift cards to give to Legionnaires to purchase other necessary supplies for the disaster relief. The Legion Post Commander will talk with Legionnaires in Houston Tuesday for an update of what other supplies they need, the release states.

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