Donations are being collected in Coweta and Meriwether counties to benefit victims of Hurricane Michael in the Panama City/Mexico Beach/Port St. Joe area.
Organizer Terri Neill has been in contact with St. Andrews Baptist Church in Panama City, which is helping to coordinate relief efforts in the area.
The goal is to fill a tractor trailer with supplies.
Items can be dropped off to help fill the trailer, which will be located in the grassy lot between Belk and Dick’s Sporting Goods in Ashley Park.
Dropoffs can start Wednesday, with the trailer manned from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The goal is to have the trailer filed by Friday, so the truck can leave early Saturday morning for Panama City.
The biggest needs are baby items, hygiene items and cleaning products to help residents get their homes cleaned up after the storm.
Water donations aren't needed at this time, Neill said, though canned food and can openers are among the requested items.
“They have water, water coming in from everywhere,” she said.
Neill has been in touch with a lady from St. Andrews who told her there are women sitting in their vehicles in parking lots “waiting on trucks to come up with the possibility of getting their babies formula.” They also need bottles for that formula.
The closest open Walmart that is 98 miles away in Dothan, Neill said, and it’s tough to get gasoline to make that trip.
There is also a request for gallon-size zip-top bags so that volunteers can make up hygiene kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and shampoo, as well as combs and brushes, if available.
Needed items include: diapers, baby wipes, formula, baby food, baby bottles, toiletries including body cleansing wipes, deodorant, dry shampoo, soap, razors and shaving cream, toothbrushes and toothpaste, Gold Bond powder and feminine hygiene products; bleach, sanitizing wipes, disinfectant sprays and liquids, mops and brooms, cleaning rags, rubber gloves and work gloves, paper towels and toilet paper, dog and cat food (dry), flat shovels, rakes, batteries and flashlights, candles, lighters, large heavy duty trash bags and boxes.
Neill said when she first started thinking about collecting items for hurricane relief, she was thinking about water.
“I had no idea that they needed baby stuff. I had no idea that this is what they need,” she said.
St. Andrews Baptist Church members and volunteers are taking the donations that are brought to Panama City and then distributing them to those in need, Neill said.
“They are getting in their cars and driving it to places like Mexico Beach,” she said. “Even though we are getting the load Saturday, it will all be gone by Sunday. That’s how bad people need it.”
Monetary donations can be made through Living by Faith Church in Newnan, 770-550-4197, or Bethel Baptist of Rocky Mount in Meriwether County, 770-927-6299. Neill said she can also meet with people to collect donations of items or checks.
The Newnan Police Department has also been collecting donations for hurricane relief, and delivered a load to Pelham, Ga. on Tuesday, said Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows. He said he expects to deliver another load next week.
Neill said she has always had a love for the Florida Gulf Coast and hopes to retire there one day, along with her daughter, who is studying marine biology. So when the hurricane hit, she wanted to do something. At first, she was asking friends to make donations for her upcoming birthday.
Then, Neill said she decided to try and fill her lawn mower trailer up with donations. She didn’t know how she would get it to Florida, she said, but she was going to figure it out.
Neill contacted a man with Panama City Beach Rentals that she knows and asked how she could help. He put her in touch with Patty Glover at St. Andrews.
“He said message her,” Neill said. “It will take her a while to answer."
But it didn’t. Glover messaged back immediately, and they discussed the most needed items.
Neill said she hoped to get a bigger trailer and truck and within a few hours, her cousin’s husband, Kenneth Murphy, stepped up with a truck and trailer.
“So now the mission is to fill that up,” Neill said. “I can’t believe how big it’s gotten.
Neill’s church, Living by Faith, and her cousin’s church, Bethel Baptist, got involved in the effort, and will be providing volunteers to man the trailer.
“I’m praying for a miracle, I’m praying for a full load,” Neill added. “Plus I’m praying that we’ve got so much overabundance that we’ve got to go back again,” she said. “I want to make sure God gets all the honor and glory.”
A Facebook page, Hurricane Relief Mission, has been created for the effort, and updates will be posted at https://www.facebook.com/pg/Hu...
For more information, contact Neill at 678-326-8655 or email@example.com