Jim Ramey poses with one of the 'Buckets for Babies' the group is collecting for disaster victims. Photo by David Grace.
One local organization is collecting donations to help send to the children affected by tornadoes in Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.
The program is being called “Buckets for Babies” and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is spearheading the effort. The aim of Buckets for Babies is to collect supplies for children from newborn to 2-years-old.
“A couple of years ago, when Haiti had the quake, we did buckets of hope,” said Sullivan County Association Disaster Relief Director, Jim Ramey. “I just said hey, let’s do buckets for babies. We’re doing birth to two-year-old. ... I’ve never heard of an outreach for this group of people. I know it’s hard to cover everything because I’ve been there and done that.”
The object of “Buckets for Babies” is to fill a five-gallon bucket almost to the top with supplies for babies.
Items needed for the five-gallon bucket are the bucket, of course, disposable diapers, new outfit, new blanket, new baby bibs, new toy, baby wipes, baby formula, baby powder and baby shampoo. A prototype has already been made by Ramey and one of each item will fill the bucket to the top. All of the items will cost around $45 to $50.
Ramey asks that all clothes be new. Buckets can be made for either boys or girls. The organization asks to please identify on outside of the bucket clothing size and whether the bucket is for a boy or girl.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has its own tractor-trailer. Ramey estimates the trip will be around 3,000 miles and the tractor-trailer gets five miles to the gallon. A $5 donation is asked to be taped to the inside of the bucket to help with fuel costs.
Buckets can be dropped off at several points around the Upper East Tennessee area. For Johnson City drop-off, people can visit the Holston Baptist Association, 207 University Parkway; Watauga Association, in Elizabethton, at 3871 Highway 19 E; For Rogersville, Holston Valley Association, 207 Hawkins St.; First Baptist Church in Greeneville, 211 N. Main; and there are two drop-off points in Kingsport, Sullivan Association, 935 Wilcox Court, Suite 155 and Kingsport Trim shop on Wilcox Drive.
“Our central drop-off point that we started with is the old Sam’s building which is Second Harvest Food Bank,” Ramey said. “They have graciously agreed to shrink wrap (the buckets) for us.”
Buckets will be placed on pallets and shrink-wrapped for better transportation. The buckets stack real well and will be taken to distribution centers in the affected areas, Ramey said. Second Harvest has a loading dock and Southern Baptist will help palletize the buckets for transport.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief only works off of donations. There is no budget for the organization. Ramey hopes the public will get involved, but said a higher power has always taken care of needs before.
The organization can only do so much. That is why Ramey is asking the public to help out.
“We’re asking the general public to get involved,” Ramey said. “People are always asking, ‘What can we do to help.’ Well for about $55, they can make a mother and a baby happy in either Missouri, Kansas or Oklahoma. That’s all that we’re asking.”