By Mimi Wood and Katy Calloway for the Island Eye News
The Town of Sullivan’s Island and the City of Isle of Palms Fire Departments are joining forces to assist in Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in North Carolina.
Specifically, both Fire Departments are collecting supplies such as water, diapers and wipes, non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, new blankets, and personal hygiene products. Building supplies and waterproof tarps are also needed. Don’t feel like lugging stuff to and fro? Walmart gift cards are always welcomed, and easily portable.
“People helped us; now it’s time to help them,” stated IOP Mayor Jimmy Carroll. He described how he attempted to see some of Florence’s devastation firsthand on Sunday, September 23, trying to ride his motorcycle to Bucksport, SC. “ The water was still cresting in the Pee Dee River, the Waccamaw River…the roads were impassable. We were spared; we were lucky.”
Carroll went on to explain the Lowcountry Mayors’ Disaster Relief Fund, established through the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. “One hundred percent of the funds raised will benefit communities in need; South Carolina communities first,” Carroll elaborated.
Leading by example, Sullivan’s Island Mayor Pat O’Neil stated “I have personally donated to it, and urge my Sullivan’s Island neighbors to make a financial contribution to it,” referencing the Mayors’ Relief Fund. He continued, “I also fully support the two islands’ Fire Departments in their collection of supplies for our neighbors up the coast…a great way to acknowledge support we got from small North Carolina communities after Hugo.”
IOP Fire Chief Ann Graham began collecting relief supplies with the intention of trucking them north before she learned about Operation Airdrop, a local effort coordinated by retired Air Force Colonel Julie Grundahl.
“We’ve already sent three large loads of water, food, diapers and cleaning supplies since we teamed up with Operation Airdrop, volunteer group lead by retired Col Julie from Air Force working out of Mount Pleasant airport,” explains Chief Graham.
Operation Airdrop was established in response to Hurricane Harvey and utilizes local pilots, private planes and municipal airports.
“They are making contacts with locals and finding exactly what they need. Volunteer pilots are using their airplanes and delivering it to the exact locations of need. We are limited by what we can do with a vehicle right now,” says Chief Graham, so the airplanes make it more efficient.
The deadline for donations to the Fire Departments’ supply drive is October 3. There are three drop off sites on IOP: City Hall, the Public Safety Building, and the IOP Rec Center. On Sullivan’s, items may be dropped off at the Fire Station. At this time donations of clothing are not needed.
Monetary contributions to the Lowcountry Mayors’ Disaster Relief Fund may be made online at CoastalCommunityFoundation. org. You may designate “Lowcountry Mayors’ Disaster Relief Fund” in the comments section to insure your contribution is directly received by our neighbors affected by Florence.
“Let’s all give what we can to these two worthy efforts” urged Mayor O’Neil.