People are so kind and generous, says a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, but please don’t sent clothes to Texas.
“It’s so sweet,” said Robin McCarty, who was moving into a new home in Mississippi when Katrina hit. McCarty, her husband and three children now live in Collinsville. “Everyone wants to donate, everyone wants to give. I feel like I’m putting out little fires, ‘Please don’t send clothes! Don’t send clothes!’”
▪ Do send, she suggests, “things that will get cycled through no matter what,” like diapers and infant formula.
▪ Do send medical supplies, hygiene items, toilet paper. “Those things usually find a home,” McCarty said.
▪ Do send nonperishable food. “Those are the kinds of things that when they are dead-dropped into neighborhoods, people would go get them.”
▪ Do send pet supplies. “They end up with tons of animals that are misplaced.”
▪ Do send water. “We couldn’t use our water for months,” she said. “Everyone sends bottled water and that’s great for people who are out there working, but the gallons go (so much further) for washing dishes and cooking all that dry pasta that people have donated.”
▪ Do give money. “People will end up going to the Red Cross time and time again. You’re paying a house payment on a house you can’t live in ... you have no paycheck and a mortgage.”
“I know it sounds coarse, and people feel really connected when they can give what they have,” she said. “But the Red Cross fed us for weeks” and provided the needed clothing.
In a few months, once people are back in their unfinished homes and have places to store clothing and household goods, those types of donations will be much appreciated as they were in Mississippi, she said.
“There was just no way to (distribute properly stored and sorted items) for months and months.”
Trailers to Texas
At Stock Transport in Lebanon, safety director Sandra Phillips says her phone is ringing off the hook and her voice mail is filling up quick with coordination efforts and calls from volunteers. The company has trailers set up waiting to be filled with donations, which will then be sorted before heading to the Houston area next week, she said. The company has contacts in the Houston area to coordinate supplies with needs. The company is donating the planned eight trailers, and has a list of volunteers to sort and drive.
Those serious about voluntarily driving the trailer to Texas may text 618-406-5598.
Suggested donations include cleaning supplies, toiletries, infant and adult medication, undergarments, baby food, diapers and baby wipes, pet supplies, work gloves, flashlights and batteries, and inflatable mattresses.
Donations may be dropped off in the trailers Thursday at:
▪ Stock Transport, 10037 Faust Road, Lebanon
▪ Tom’s Supermarket, 95 Mascoutah Plaza Drive, Mascoutah
▪ Tom’s Supermarket, 369 Marketplace Drive, Freeburg IL 62243
▪ IGA, 450 W. Hanover St., New Baden
▪ Strano, 1910 Carlyle Ave., Belleville
Drop sites without a trailer include the Freeburg District 70 School, Chevy Dealership and the Trenton Police Department in Trenton, Waterloo Feed & Pet Supply in Waterloo, and Field’s Food in St. Louis.
Lessons from Flint
Churches in the Madison and Venice areas took truckloads of water to Flint, Michigan, when that city was in crises, and now they’re ready to take other supplies to Houston.
“The whole month of September, we’ll be taking supplies in. We’re going to do like we did the water: get a tractor trailer; we get everybody involved,” said Bishop John H. William, among the coordinators.
Donation drop-off sites are:
▪ Brooklyn City Hall, 312 S. Fifth Street, Brooklyn
▪ New Shining Light Church, 740 Broadway, Venice
▪ Metro East Worship Center, 1416 Niedringhaus Ave., Granite City
Schools get involved
▪ Students at St. Joseph School in Freeburg can wear a hat for Hurricane Harvey’s victims on Friday for $1, which will go to relief efforts, the school says. The school is accepting donations at its office as well, at 2 N. Alton St., Freeburg.
The Knights of Columbus will give 100 percent of concert ticket sales to Texas flood relief efforts, the O’Fallon charity reports.
The benefit concert featuring 7 Bridges: The Ultimate Eagles Experience starts at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at the O’Fallon Knights of Columbus Hall, 402 East Hwy 50 O’Fallon. For more information call 618-632-6229.
Tickets are $25.