The Valdosta Daily Times
By now, we’ve all heard about the tragedy in Moore, Okla., a mile-wide, F5 tornado with winds of more than 200 miles per hour carved through 17 miles over a span of 50 minutes on Monday afternoon.
Many Valdosta businesses and people have not only heard about the disaster but have answered an impulse to help.
From 4-6 p.m. today, multiple Valdosta businesses are hosting fundraising relief efforts for the Red Cross. Super Suds on Gornto, Winn Dixie at Five Points, the Valdosta Mall and Valdosta Properties in Remerton are hosting fundraisers in a community-wide effort. Unless otherwise specified, all funds raised will go towards disaster relief.
Terri Jenkins, American Red Cross South Georgia Chapter executive director, emphasizes that these are fundraising events and not drop-off points for bulk distribution items such as bottled water, clothes, food, etc.
“The Red Cross does not have the capability to store and ship items such as these,” said Jenkins. “But any money earmarked towards Oklahoma disaster relief will go directly towards that. Or donors can donate to disaster relief in general. The Red Cross honors donor intent.”
For people who want to donate but can’t make it by today, they have four options. They can donate through the website, www.redcross.org/southgeorgia, call (229-242-7404), drop it by the Red Cross office at 509 N. Patterson St., or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.
But what if you want to do something hands on?
On Wednesday, Wild Adventures staff were at the Second Harvest of South Georgia, the regional food bank, packing 1,400 disaster response boxes. While the timing was coincidental — Wild Adventures had already planned for a disaster box volunteer day before Monday, that doesn’t make their volunteering any less important.
“We focus our disaster boxes towards children and seniors,” said Eliza McCall, Second Harvest chief marketing officer. “In an emergency, they’re the ones who usually need the most help.”
The disaster boxes are broken into two categories, small and large. The small ones contain 24 cans of Ensure and 20 Zone protein bars, while the larger ones contain 24 servings of Pediasure and eight bottles of Pedialyte, along with the Ensure and Zone protein bars.
After the boxes have been assembled, packed, and stacked, pallets are shipped, heading towards Feeding America locations in Savannah, Charleston, S.C., and Mobile, Ala. From there, they’ll head to where they’re needed. While McCall can’t say for certain that they’ll be heading towards Moore, she can guarantee that they’ll find their way into the hands of people that need them, feeding people who need to be fed.