Friday, September 17, 2004

Locals lend hand to victims of storms



By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer

HOW TO HELP HURRICANE VICTIMS

• Matthew 25: Ministries: Donations of food, clothing, personal-hygiene items and other gifts can be dropped off at its warehouse, 11060 Kenwood Road in Blue Ash.

Financial donations can be made at its Web site, www.m25m.org.

Corporate donors can call Brian Bertke at 793-6256 to find out what bulk items are needed.

• Taylor Mill Fire Department: Donations can be dropped off at the fire department, 5231 Taylor Mill Road in Taylor Mill. They can also be dropped off at Saturday's Taylor Mill Park Fest, celebrating the end of summer at Pride Park.

All cash donated for the relief effort will be used to buy items.

Call (859) 581-6565 for more information.

• Salvation Army: Monetary donations only. Call 681-5938 for more information.

• American Red Cross, Cincinnati Area Chapter: Monetary donations only.

Checks can be sent to 720 Sycamore St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.

Secure online donations can be made at this Web site.

Credit-card donations can be made by calling (800) 255-7070.

Dan Klepal

FLIGHTS AFFECTED

Delta Air Lines said Thursday it had canceled flights to its largest hub in Atlanta, including some to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, because of the storm's impact there.

But the airline was not expecting any disruptions at the hub here, and was not planning on using the local airport as a transfer point for those who normally would have gone through Atlanta.

In addition, flights to affected cities such as New Orleans, where the airport remained closed Thursday, were canceled.

James Pilcher

Greater Cincinnati residents are reaching out to victims of Hurricane Ivan from Jamaica to Mobile, Ala., even as the weakened storm inches toward the Ohio River Valley where it could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain from West Virginia to south-central Ohio.

The rain is expected to raise the Ohio River past flood stage here Sunday. The river could crest at 58 feet - 6 feet over flood stage - next week, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

At least four local agencies are gathering everything from food and clothing to batteries and roofing nails to help millions of people in the wake of the storm - the third to affect people in Florida since Hurricane Charley made landfall Aug. 13, followed by Hurricane Frances three weeks later.

Betsy Connell, 53, of Loveland has a condo in Jupiter, Fla., which was battered by Frances. She lost a few roof shingles, but the property otherwise came out unscathed.

Floyd McMurray is a lifelong West Sider who has visited all over Florida. The 59-year-old's most frequent destination? Destin, at the midpoint of Florida's panhandle and a spot hammered by Ivan.

McMurray's not too worried about the white-sand beaches that have kept him coming back. They'll clean up and move on, he said.

"Those people down there pretty much get used to it," he said. "Although I don't know how. I was in a hurricane in the 1960s, and it scared the living daylights out of me."

Ivan battered the Caribbean earlier this week, killing 70 people. It weakened before hitting the Gulf Coast early Thursday, but was still powerful enough to knock out power to about 11/2 million households and businesses in four states, and cause widespread flooding and wind damage.

Matthew 25: Ministries in Blue Ash already has shipped four sea-land containers with about 36 pallets of supplies each. Two of the containers went to Grenada, with the others headed for Jamaica. More shipments to the Caribbean are scheduled for next week, said Joodi Archer, director of the agency's Pallets to the Poor program.

The containers were filled mostly with clothing and medical supplies, she said.

"We've been somewhat in disaster mode since Hurricane Charley went through Florida," Archer said. "But we kicked it into high gear for Ivan."

Archer said her agency has responded to requests for help from the Caribbean islands, but hasn't been asked for help from the southern states affected by Ivan.

The American Red Cross' Cincinnati Area Chapter is preparing to send its third team of disaster-relief volunteers south. More than 20 volunteers from the region are already in Florida. The Red Cross opens shelters for people displaced by the storm, while providing food and vouchers for medicine, clothing and other items.

Jennifer Snedigar, director of marketing for the local chapter, said an additional four volunteers will head south next week, while some of the people already helping there will return home. But with more than 37,000 homes officially declared destroyed, the agency is bracing for a long-term operation.

The Salvation Army is also planning to respond. David Hersh, the disaster coordinator for Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, said he is awaiting word from headquarters in New York as to where and when his three 10-person teams will go. The agency, as a whole, has provided 60 "mobile feeding units" that are capable of serving 2,000 meals an hour.

The Taylor Mill Fire Department is taking up a collection at the firehouse. Firefighter Sean Fortney said they plan on driving tarps, food, hardware, baby goods and personal hygiene products down in pickup trucks.

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com




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