Lo­cal drive to help Har­vey vic­tims

Record Observer - - NEWS - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

GRA­SONVILLE — Long­time vol­un­teer fire­fighter and com­mu­nity ac­tivist Justin Davs of Gra­sonville is spear­head­ing a lo­cal ef­fort to pro­vide re­lief to vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey. Ac­cord­ing to Na­tional Weather Ser­vice re­ports, more than 51 inches of rain fell on Hous­ton and sur­round­ing ar­eas over a six-day pe­riod, re­sult­ing in deadly flood­ing and wide­spread dev­as­ta­tion. As of Mon­day, Sept. 4, Har­vey’s death toll was at 60 and ex­pected to climb.

“We will be col­lect­ing items at least through Sept 15. Op­er­a­tions in Texas are still in a res­cue phase, and we do not want to do any­thing to hin­der those op­er­a­tions,” Davis said. “Vic­tims will need as­sis­tance for some time with this ma­jor catas­tro­phe.”

Items needed in­clude: bot­tled wa­ter, sports drinks, clean­ing sup­plies, non-per­ish­able (ready-to-eat) food items (pop top cans are best or please sup­ply a can opener), canned pet food, toi­letries, hand san­i­tizer, baby for­mula, wipes, di­a­pers, new un­der­wear and socks, new pil­lows and blan­kets, and fem­i­nine hy­giene prod­ucts.

Davis noted that cloth­ing do­na­tions are ac­cept­able, but items must be new or nearly new and sorted by size and gen­der.

Do­na­tions of Pack ‘n’ Plays are also needed for dis­tri­bu­tion at shel­ters, he said.

Drop off lo­ca­tions in­clude: Best West­ern Plus Eas­ton Inn & Suites, 8708 Ali­cia Dr., Eas­ton; Church Hill VFD, 316 Main St., Church Hill; A-Shore Out Bail Bonds, 101 S. Com­merce St., Centreville; La Pi­azza, 4701 Main St., Gra­sonville; Cross­bones Tat­too and Body Pierc­ing, 305 Sad­dler Road, Gra­sonville; El Jefe Mex­i­can Kitchen and Te­quila Bar, 1235 Shop­ping Cen­ter Road, Stevensville; Vape Bird, 356 Ro­man­coke Road, Stevensville; Shore Stop South, 201 Ro­man­coake Road, Stevensville, and Ace Hard­ware, 321 In­de­pen­dence Blvd., Dover.

Ja­son Baker is pro­vid­ing a box truck for the trip, and many of Davis’ friends and lo­cal busi­nesses are pitch­ing in to help.

La Pi­azza in Gra­sonville, for ex­am­ple, pledged 10 per­cent of the pro­ceeds from all piz­zas sold last week through Sept. 2 to the cause, and is serv­ing as a drop off site and col­lect­ing mon­e­tar y do­na­tions.

El Jefe in Stevensville has served as a meet­ing and plan­ning site as well as a drop off point.

Keri An­thony col­lected socks, tow­els and blan­kets dur­ing her shows last week­end in Re­hoboth, Ocean City and St. Michaels.

The res­i­dents of Sym­phony Vil­lage in Centreville are also do­nat­ing.

This re­lief ef­fort is just the lat­est of many for Davis, who started the re­lief drives af­ter 9/11, when he took sup­plies to first re­spon­ders and their fam­i­lies in New York City. Over the years his ef­forts have aided vic­tims of a va­ri­ety of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, in­clud­ing tor­na­does in Illi­nois, flood­ing in West Vir­ginia, Hur­ri­cane Matthew in North Carolina, and, most re­cently, the tor­nado on Kent Is­land.

Friends and fel­low vol­un­teers have urged Davis to turn his al­tru­is­tic ef­forts into an of­fi­cial non­profit, and he has started the process. Op­er­at­ing un­der the name First Light for First Re­spon­ders, Davis has es­tab­lished a board of di­rec­tors and is work­ing on the pa­per­work, but it isn’t fin­ished yet.

Those who want a taxd­e­ductible re­ceipt would do bet­ter to di­rect their do­na­tions to or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Red Cross or UMCOR (the United Methodist Com­mit­tee on Re­lief) that can pro­vide them.

How­ever, if you sim­ply want to help with the knowl­edge and as­sur­ance that your do­na­tion will go di­rectly to some­one in Texas who needs it, First Light for First Re­spon­ders will be happy to have it.

Davis usu­ally works through fire and emer­gency ser­vices vol­un­teers in the ar­eas af­fected, so the do­na­tions quickly reach those who need them with­out so much red tape.

Davis also will be ac­cept­ing do­na­tions at the Salute to He­roes 9/11 me­mo­rial, set for 6 p.m. Mon­day, Sept. 11, at The Jetty on Wells Cove Road in Gra­sonville.

Any­one want­ing to vol­un­teer, help with load­ing or ac­com­pany the ef­fort can reach Davis at 410-829-2821.


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