At this point in the response, leaders of both the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee and the Salvation Army Corps of Johnson City are advising those who wish to aid the relief effort that monetary donations are the most effective way to help at this time.
Capt. Michael Cox, commander of the Johnson City Salvation Army, has been in Kinston, North Carolina, north of Wilmington, since Sunday, working as logistics officer to provide food, fuel and other essentials to 500 storm victims and volunteer responders at a shelter in that area.
Speaking to the Johnson City Press by phone Tuesday evening, Cox said the Neuse River is expected to rise another two feet before cresting on Friday or Saturday.
The Johnson City Salvation Army emergency canteen and disaster service team will be sent to the area on Sunday.
Cox said the agency is requesting monetary donations at this time because of the difficulty of delivering supplies.
Donations designed for “Florence” may be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769), By texting "STORM" to 51555 or online at give.helpsalvationarmy.org.
One hundred percent of of all donations designated for Florence will be used in response to this disaster.
Cox said that while the local Salvation Army must be careful not to overload the mobile canteen, it will accept donations of bottled water and dry goods such as boxed pasta meals, dry beans and dry rice to send to the coast with the disaster response team on Sunday.
Kalen Collins, executive director of the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee, said the Red Cross is likewise asking those who wish to help to limit their contributions to monetary gifts at this time.
Three local Red Cross volunteers have been deployed to storm-impacted areas of North Carolina so far, and more will follow in the comings days and weeks, Collins said.
Donations to help the Red Cross response to areas impacted by Florence may be made by texting “Florence” to 90999, by calling 1-800-Red-Cross or online at redcross.org.
A Red Cross shelter set up at Crossroad Christian Church in Gray was housing 22 hurricane evacuees on Tuesday, including a number of children, and two dogs.
Collins said the shelter was supplied to meet the evacuees’ immediate needs on Tuesday and could only accept meals prepared in commercial kitchens.
Collins advised those who wish to donate other items for the storm victims to watch for collections to be conducted by local churches as the storm response continues. She advised those who wish to volunteer in the Florence response efforts to call the local Red Cross office at 423-378-8700.
Cox said the needs of those in the storm-impacted areas will evolve in the coming days and weeks, and also encouraged those who wish to contribute to watch for updates on how to help.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.