09/01/05 — Local residents should give money to best help victims

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Local residents should give money to best help victims

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on September 1, 2005 2:03 PM

Wayne County residents who want to help the battered victims of Hurricane Katrina can contribute in a number of ways, local emergency volunteer coordinators say.

Chuck Waller, the director of the Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross, said the first thing that people can do is contribute money. With no way to immediately transport goods and materials to the stricken areas, cash contributions are the easiest way to help those in need, Waller said. Donations can be made by telephone by calling 1-800-Help-Checks. They also can be mailed directly to Disaster Relief at the American Red Cross headquarters at P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C., 20013, or contributions can be made via the Internet by visiting www.redcross.org.

Waller said another way for Wayne residents to help is to undergo training that would prepare them to go directly to the Gulf states and give hands-on help. But they need to be trained and prepared for what they will encounter, Waller said. The next training session will be Sept. 10, but he said the class is filling up fast and that a second session might be planned.

People who think they want to go directly to Louisiana or Mississippi need to be fully aware of the conditions they will meet, Waller emphasized. He called living conditions there "Spartan" at best and said people would need to bring their own personal items such as toilet paper and sleeping bags, etc.

"They're not going to be staying at the Hilton," he said. "People need to understand that."

Another, often overlooked, way Wayne residents can help is by continuing to donate blood, Waller said. Massive amounts of blood will be needed to help treat the thousands of injured people, and the national blood supply will be strained to keep up with demand.

"We're encouraging people to support the blood drives that are going on," he said.

Blood drives will be held today at the Church of Latter Day Saints on 11th Street from 2 to 6:30 p.m.

Other blood drive dates are:

*Nahunta Friends Church, Sunday from noon until 4 p.m.

*Chili's restaurant, Tuesday from noon until 4:30 p.m.

*Royal Insurance on Parkway Drive, Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

*Mount Olive College, Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

*St. Stephens Church, Sept. 13 from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

*At the Red Cross chapter at 600 N. George St., Sept. 13, from 2 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. (by appointment only.)

Meanwhile, other agencies and businesses are jumping into the fray.

The MERCI Center west of Goldsboro, sponsored by the United Methodist Church, will be putting together response teams to help with clean-up and recovery efforts. MERCI officials said people should not try to go to the hurricane-stricken area as individuals, but should join with others to form organized teams that will be better able to offer assistance. The teams need to be prepared to be self-sufficient or they will simply add to the demands on food and shelter, said Barbara Tripp, MERCI center executive director. They also need to be trained in how to operate chain saws and other equipment, she said.

Information on how to join a MERCI group can be obtained by calling the center at 739-9167.

Salvation Army officials in Goldsboro are asking for monetary donations. Contributions may be made to the local Salvation Army center on William Street, earmarked "Disaster Relief," made online by visiting www.salvationarmyusa.org, or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

Deacon Jones Ford-Lincoln-Mercury is setting up a tractor-trailer truck at its location on U.S. 70 bypass to accept donations of needed supplies that will be shipped to the hurricane area. Company officials are asking for paper goods such as plates, cups, diapers, tissue and towels; cleaning supplies; single-serving snack foods such as cereal bars, snack crackers and peanut butter and heat-and-eat foods such as chili, stew and canned vegetables. Items may be dropped off during business hours, from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Steve Parr, executive director of the Wayne County United Way encouraged residents to contribute to the national organization, saying it would be the fastest way for donations to reach United Way agencies in the hurricane-hit areas. Checks can be mailed to United Way of America, P.O. Box 630568, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0568. Checks should be made payable to United Way of America and in the memo line, donors should note the money is intended for the Hurricane Katrina Response Fund. Donations can also be made by visiting the United Way website at https://volunteer.united-e-way.org/hurricane-katrina/donate/.