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Local relief efforts geared up for Harvey victims

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Aug 31, 2017 at 4:28 PM

With authorities predicting the already staggering toll of human displacement left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey will continue to mount over the coming days, local relief efforts are intensifying.

Leading the charge, the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee has had trained disaster relief volunteers on the ground in Texas since early this week. More are preparing to make the trip and still more are lined up for disaster volunteer training classes beginning today at the regional Red Cross offices in Kingsport.

In its latest press release, the Red Cross described Harvey’s catastrophic devastation as “the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history.” On Wednesday morning, the Red Cross numbers showed 32,000 people housed in more than 230 shelters in Texas and more in shelters in Louisiana, 1,500 disaster workers on the ground with hundreds more on the way and more than 180,000 meals and snacks served since the storm began Friday. The Red Cross said it has enough kitchen supplies to produce 116,000 ready-to-eat meals on the ground and enough supplies for another 39,000 meals en route.

For those who wish to help, the Red Cross is requesting financial donations online at redcross.org, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee is recruiting volunteers to help in the storm relief efforts. Disaster volunteer classes begin this morning at the regional Red Cross office at 660 Eastern Star Road, Kingsport. Those who wish to volunteer should contact Angela Morris at [email protected] or 423-765-4222 for information

The Johnson City Salvation Army Corps mobile canteen is also loaded and ready for deployment to the flood-ravaged area sometime next week.

Corps Cmdr. Michael Cox said the logistics of feeding tens of thousands of flood victims make cash donations the most beneficial to Salvation Army’s relief efforts and urged those who wish to help to make donations online at helpsalvationarmy.org, a new website dedicated to Hurricane Harvey relief; by phone to 1-800-Salarmy; or by texting the word “Storm” to 51555.

Through Wednesday, Sept. 6, Food City stores throughout Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and north Georgia will be accepting monetary donations at their checkouts for the Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse and Houston Food Bank relief efforts.

And on Sunday, Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church will be accepting donations of cleaning buckets and hygiene kits for distribution to the storm victims by the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Details of what to include and how to pack the kits are available online at at the UMCOR website at www.umcor.org. Monetary donations to UMCOR's relief efforts can also be made at the website.

Because of the increased demand for blood donations in the wake of storm, the local Blood Assurance office is calling on Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia residents to make donations at a local donor center or bloodmobile.

Opportunities to donate include:

• Thursday, Aug 31, noon-6 p.m and Friday, Sept. 1, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m at ACT on East Fairview Avenue.

• Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1-5 p.m at the East Tennessee State University Pedestrian Mall.

• Wednesday and Thursday, Sept 6 and 7, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m in the ETSU Culp Center Ballroom.

• Friday, Sept. 8, at No. 1, Professional Park Drive, Suite 14, Johnson City.

To schedule a blood drive at a local business, school, church or other location, contact Mike Patterson at 423-298-4335 or [email protected]

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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