Georgia residents send support by the truckload

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Villa Rica, Ga. donors signed a card for local Atlantic County residents to show their support of the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts Villa Rica, Ga. donors signed a card for local Atlantic County residents to show their support of the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - Eager to make their delivery quickly while the need was still the greatest, a group of four men from a small town in Georgia drove all night Thursday to personally deliver a truck loaded with donated food, blankets and new clothing to those whose homes and belongings were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Villa Rica, Ga., is a "tiny town" of approximately 13,956 residents located 35 miles west of Atlanta, according to one of its residents, Robin Baker, who called The Current to spread the news about their arrival.

 

After searching for an organization or agency who would have the space and ability to manage the large delivery, the town's residents teamed up with the organization Compassion Services International and with the pastor of Pleasantville's Apostolic Tabernacle Church, Wayne Gillis.

The truck arrived at about noon Friday at 84 Lumber, where pallets of food and other supplies were unloaded before being transported to Apostolic Tabernacle.

Gillis said the church has been designated as one of Atlantic County's distribution sites, but word has been spreading slowly about its ability to help.

"Everyone is so scattered. They aren't in their homes. They are staying with friends in other towns, so it has been a challenge letting people know that we are here to help," Gillis said.

Stocked with the new delivery from Villa Rica and expecting four other out-of-state truck deliveries over the weekend, the church is up and running with relief supplies, he said. “We are open Monday through Friday from 3:30-7 p.m., and this Saturday will be our first weekend day. We will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m."

Baker said the Villa Rica donation effort was a labor of love of one young resident in particular, Cody Mayfield.
"After the storm, many in our community wanted to reach out, but one young man decided to truly act on this. Cody Mayfield put out a call on Facebook, and the need was heard," she said.

"A tractor trailer and driver were donated to this operation. Businesses called in with monetary donations or materials immediately. We had pallets of water donated from various companies, pallets of dog food, six pallets of canned goods, handmade quilts from the elderly, a group of United Methodist Church children put together hundreds of gallon bags of brand new toiletries included with a personal note in each bag, the Wounded Warriors gave money, even a group of card players gave $500 toward fuel expenses,” Baker said.

"We heard a need for men and women's undergarments, put out the call and in a few hours we had tons of new packs of each,” she continued, noting that cleaning supplies, mops, brooms, gloves, garbage bags, baby food, formula, diapers and other items were also collected.

“It is overwhelming to me the extent that our small town gave,” she said.

"We parked in the Walmart parking lot all day on Thursday, Nov. 8 collecting donations. It was amazing to see the response from the community, to see children so eager to give cans of food, the elderly cleaning out what looked to be their cupboards to give what they could.”

She said they left Villa Rica 7 p.m. Thursday with a grand sendoff and a police escort, and arrived in Egg Harbor Township Friday at noon. 

"The guys traveling north were eager to unload and lend a hand any way that could. There were countless people that would have loved to have rode up and helped with anything,” Baker said. “At one point the Red Cross had heard about us on the Atlanta radio and sent someone out to investigate.  After seeing we were legit, they told us we were doing an awesome thing."

Although the effort was the brainstorm of Cody Mayfield, many, many others played big and small parts in the operation, she said.

“We asked those that could not give to pray for our journey and those that we were helping. We just wanted to let the people up north know that they were not forgotten, that we felt their pain."

Those in need of the supplies can stop by Apostolic Tabernacle Church, 923 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville 3:30-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday or call (609) 645-1317 for information.

  Pallets of food are unloaded from the truck driven by Villa Rica, Ga. residents to help the region with Hurricane Sandy relief Pallets of food are unloaded from the truck driven by Villa Rica, Ga. residents to help the region with Hurricane Sandy relief

Cody Mayfield, Nick Gladden, Randy Mayfield, Aubrey Merritt of Villa Rica, Ga. stand in front of their town's Hurricane Sandy donation Cody Mayfield, Nick Gladden, Randy Mayfield, Aubrey Merritt of Villa Rica, Ga. stand in front of their town's Hurricane Sandy donation

Pastor Wayne Gillis of Apostolic Tabernacle Church in Pleasantville shakes the hand of Cody Mayfield of Villa Rica, Ga. Mayfield organized a large donation effort for Hurricane Sandy victims here. Pastor Wayne Gillis of Apostolic Tabernacle Church in Pleasantville shakes the hand of Cody Mayfield of Villa Rica, Ga. Mayfield organized a large donation effort for Hurricane Sandy victims here.

The town of Villa Rica, Ga. donated a truckload of relief supplies to Hurricane Sandy victims here. The town of Villa Rica, Ga. donated a truckload of relief supplies to Hurricane Sandy victims here.

 

More coverage:

Picking up the pieces after Hurricane Sandy

Parts of EHT battered by Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy damage a double loss for Scullville Volunteer Fire Company

An early Thanksgiving in many ways

Residents pile in to donate

County Executive: Damage to island towns extensive

 


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