Etowah nonprofits band together to provide relief for hurricane victims


By Sarrah Peters, News Editor

The Gadsden-Etowah County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are working together with other Etowah County nonprofit organizations to provide supplies to hurricane Harvey victims in Texas.

The EMA and VOAD wanted to help an affected city that had not gotten the coverage that Houston did in the media. The EMA selected Rosenberg, a city similar in size to Gadsden. Rosenberg, like Gadsden, has a river going through it; however with the rains Rosenberg’s has overflowed. More than 5,000 people have been displaced due to the flooding, and there have been two fatalities.

The EMA has been in contact with the city of Rosenberg to find out what is needed to help.

“We want to make sure we help the people in Texas with what they need,” said Craig Scott, VOAD member.

EMA Director Deborah Gaither said that during Hurricane Katrina unneeded donated items actually caused more problems for the areas affected.

“Those things that were shipped in unsolicited became a disaster in and of itself,” said Gaither.

The donations that are being accepted are focused in three areas: pet supplies, school supplies and mud-out kit supplies.

The Gadsden Public Library is overseeing the collection of school supplies, including composition notebooks, pens, highlighters, pencils, dry erase markers, two pocket-pronged folders, notebook paper, glue sticks and crayons. Supplies can be dropped off at the Gadsden Public Library.

The Humane Society Pet Rescue and Adoption Center is collecting pet supplies. Pet foods, pet bedding, cat litter, cat boxes and leashes are being collected to go to pet owners in shelters. The shelters will also allow people who did not need evacuating to collect supplies for pets.

The animal shelter and Humane Society in Rosenberg requested medical supplies. Locally, Rainbow City Pet Clinic and Southside Pet Clinic jumpstarted the medical supply donation effort. Donations of antibiotics, flea and tick medicines, medicated shampoos, neosporin, gauze, bandages, peroxide and gift cards to PetCo and Wal-Mart.

The Humane Society also collected money and gift cards at Yappy Hour on Wednesday, September 6.

The EMA and VOAD are collecting supplies for mud-out kits. Accepted supplies include five gallon buckets with resealable lids (Restaurant buckets that have been cleaned are acceptable. Buckets that have stored chemicals like paint or pool cleaner cannot be used.); liquid laundry detergent (50 oz. or 25 oz. bottles); liquid household cleaner (12 or 16 oz. bottles that can be mixed with water. No spray cleaners.); dish soap (16 or 28 oz. bottles); clothespins (50 count); insect repellant spray (6 or 14 oz.); scrub brush (plastic or wooden handle); cleaning wipes (Reusable wipes, but no terry cleaning towels.); sponges (No cellulose sponges.); scouring pads (No stainless steel, Brillo pads or SOS pads. Nothing with built-in soap.); N95 dust masks; clothesline (100 or 50 ft.); 24-roll heavy duty trash bags (33 to 45-gallon size); durable kitchen dishwashing gloves; work gloves with leather palm or all leather; and aerosol or pump air freshener. Reloadable gift cards will also be accepted.

The pet supplies and mud-out kit supplies are being collected at the Gadsden Mall at the JC Penny loading dock. Follow signs in the mall parking lot that will direct you to the dock, where volunteers will accept donations from your car when you drive up.

Pet supplies are being accepted today, Friday, September 8, from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mud-out kit supplies are being accepted Friday, September 8 and Saturday, September 9 from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. After Saturday, the non-profit organizations will reassess and determine the next step.

Scott said that he expects the donation center to remain open for at least another week or two, and advises the community to keep up with the efforts. He also said that with Hurricane Irma approaching, the donation center in the near future may be serving an area in Florida, as well.

Items that will be accepted for donation may change as the needs of Rosenberg’s citizins change.

In the meantime, monetary donations are being accepted by the Salvation Army and Red Cross, whose national organizations are assisting victims. The Salvation Army can also accept clothes and furniture, though it will not be sent to Texas, as residents are not yet prepared to receive those items. The Salvation Army will sell those items and a portion of the money will go to the national level that is assisting victims.

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