You have watched in horror the devastation that has occurred from the flooding in West Virginia and have probably wondered how you can help. Now, a group of people in the community have set up a truck, donated by area businessman Sean Boldman, at 11th and Offnere streets in Portsmouth and have invited you to bring cleaning and baby supplies to be taken to those victims.
“It originated from Lifepoint Church through the idea of June Claypool who is in a small group at Lifepoint,” Keith Bowling of Lifepoint Church said.
“I was born and raised in West Virginia in that area that was hit,” Claypool said. “I was actually in Hurricane Floyd in 1997 and I saw the devastation first-hand of what it’s like to be in this type of disaster and I saw what it was like for people who didn’t have supplies for their babies, people begging for baby diapers, begging for wipes, begging for formula, just so they could supply the needs for their children. And when this happened I said, we have to do this because the Bible says that when we do for the least of these we do it unto him. We have so much here and we can spend five bucks at the movies or we can go buy baby wipes or we can buy diapers. We could spend less on ourselves and help them.”
There is a place where people can see a list of needed items.
“We have a list posted on Facebook of items they need in West Virginia,” Bowling said. “Baby supplies – diapers, formulas, wipes, things like that – also (bottled) water and cleaning supplies – bleach, Pine-Sol, mops, brooms, sponges and rags and buckets – they have a muddy mess down there, so we want to be able to take supplies to them to help them clean.”
The truck is parked at Masterworks Jewelry Studio, 1501 11th Street at Offnere Street in Portsmouth. Bowling said people can bring donations between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. through this Friday ( July 1) and the truck will take the supplies on Saturday (July 2).
“We’ll be loading the truck up and taking it to a distribution location in Beckley, which is another church that we contacted and they’re going to distribute the products,” Bowling said.
If the truck gets filled up early? There is a plan B.
“We’ll get another truck, an enclosed trailer, whatever we have to do,” Bowling said. “We already have people offering, if we have an overflow, that they will drive a truck and a trailer as well. So let’s fill it up. Let’s fill two or three up. Wouldn’t it be a great problem to have to rent an 18-wheeler to haul supplies down.”
Darrell Nickles, pastor of Lifepoint Church, said he heard there is a school in that area with 13 inches of mud.
“I know a lot of people just want to help and they don’t know what to do,” Nickles said. “So since we found a church down there that’s in the middle of it, handing out stuff, we want to take advantage of that and make a way for people to help. Had it been in New York or California it would be getting a lot more national coverage, but it is down there where the poor people are – CNN doesn’t send trucks down there.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.