First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - Chris Taylor considered spending his Labor Day hunting doves, but decided instead to search for relief aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“Something just got in my heart,” he said, “and I felt I should do this.”
Taylor and his wife, Cindy, representing Antioch Baptist Church on Old Whiteville Road, began collecting relief supplies Monday morning. He worked the area outside of Wal-Mart while his wife was across Fayetteville Road, working the parking lot of Lowes Food. They collected food and other items - not cash, which should be donated directly to the American Red Cross by calling (800) HELP NOW.
The John S. James Company, a broker with Taylor's employer Keystone Lines, donated two trucks and gas for the cause, and business partner Yang Ming Marine Transport provided two 18-wheel trailers.
Collection will continue until at least one trailer is full, Taylor said. Then he and fellow parishioner Kenny Britt will cart the supplies to a partner church in Meridian, Miss.
“We would be happy filling one trailer,” he said, “but we would like to get two.”
The goal might be attainable, he said, because the outpouring of donations has been swift and steady since he began Saturday morning.
“My wife already has 20 cases of water,” he said about 10:30 a.m. on Monday as he handed lists of needed supplies to people as they entered Wal-Mart. He had already received about five cases of water in addition to diapers and toiletries.
Donations will even benefit the local economy, he said.
“It's helping Robeson County out,” he said, “because the purchases benefit stores here.”
Louise Wormley, who donated water and some other non-perishable food, said she helped because she felt deep sympathy for the victims.
“I put myself in their shoes,” she said, “and I feel like they really need it.”
In a separate relief effort, Ronnie Locklear, owner of Ronnie's Tint and Audio on Fayetteville Road, has his own tractor-trailer that he hopes to fill with supplies. He plans on driving it to the disaster area and turning the donations over to the Salvation Army for distribution.
Locklear said that the images of the damage led him to act, so he arranged for Pro-Transport in St. Pauls to donate a tractor-trailer that he will gas up with his own money.
“I don't have much,” he said, “but I give what I can.”
So far, donations have been about 80 percent clothing and 20 percent food, he said. He said he expects donations to pick up as word spreads of his effort.
Until then, he said, “I'm just trying to get the word out.”