“Disasters like Superstorm Sandy devastate communities,” said Regional Chief Development Officer Sandy Matheson. “Donations ensure the American Red Cross can provide warm meals, shelter and hope to families when they need it most.”
Red Cross has scheduled A Drive-In and Donate fundraiser for Friday, Nov. 9, and Saturday, Nov. 10. Volunteers are assigned to both the northside and southside Walmarts in Cleveland. The Sandy relief effort will have two Friday sessions — from 5 to 10 a.m., and then 4 to 8 p.m. Volunteers will be also out from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
According to Victoria Tropiano, Red Cross public relations intern, 10 volunteers are needed for each time slot.
“They can be groups that want to volunteer for community service hours or just anyone who wants to help,” Tropiano said. “At the Drive-In Donation spots, people can come by and drop off monetary donations to help support Hurricane Sandy disaster response.”
Volunteers will also be set up at the Walmart in Athens on the same time and dates.
Julia Wright, director of Cleveland’s Red Cross chapter, said almost 50 volunteers (Southeast Region) traveled to the Northeast to help with disaster relief. Three of these 50 volunteers are from Bradley County. She is confident in residents turning out for the fundraiser.
“I think we are a very compassionate community. Many folks know what it is like to go through a disaster,” Wright said.
She said Sandy’s disaster relief will be a very long process.
“There is no one specific agency that can do this on their own,” Wright said. “Help will be needed for quite some time. Many areas still do not have electricity and another storm is about to hit.”
Supporters can also text Red Cross to 90999 for an automatic $10 donation.
“Anyone unable to drop off contributions may visit redcross.org or call 1-800-REDCROSS, with all financial donations benefitting the Red Cross Disaster Relief response to Hurricane Sandy,” Matheson said.
Efforts are being made by Cleveland’s local Salvation Army Chapter to raise money as well. Sgt. Ruthie Forgey of the local Salvation Army said monetary donations are very important in the aid effort.
"Our biggest request coming from The Salvation Army teams on the ground is for monetary donations,” Forgey said. “Any Cleveland/Bradley County resident who wants to make a donation to the victims of Sandy can do so at our Cleveland office or by going to the website salvationarmy.org, which will give detailed instructions on how to give. One hundred percent of their donation will go to the relief efforts."
Donations are being collected at Athens Flea Market to be taken up north. William Sampsel said he has already been once and plans to go again Tuesday, Nov. 13. For more information on the relief efforts or donations, call 423-326-8769.
Sampsel said he goes from house to house to see how he can help each person or family affected by Sandy.
“It is a lot worse than what we see on TV,” Sampsel said. “I have received a lot of clothes already, so I am looking for cleaning materials, dry food, diapers, baby formula, socks, water, chainsaws, and generators.”
An auction is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Athens Flea Market. Sampsel encourages people to bring items to auction off.
“From Atlantic City to New York — the whole shoreline was a disaster. You see shots on the news and stuff, but when you see things in person — boats on top of houses, boats on people’s porches — it is devastating,” Sampsel said. “It is like a war zone.”
He said people up North affected by the storm are appreciative of anything volunteers and others can do for them.