South Carolina is gearing up for a second round of help to the storm-ravaged Northeast. Hundreds of thousands of residents in the area are still without power from Hurricane Sandy and a nor’easter is set to hit the area today.
Harvest Hope Food Bank joined forces over the weekend with three other groups to fly food and water to New Jersey to help victims of the superstorm.
And the Midlands’ food bank is working with Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston to gather more supplies to deliver later this week, said Skot Garrick, a Harvest Hope spokesman.
On the first run, S.C. State Guard volunteers helped pack more than 2,500 pounds of supplies, which were flown out of Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Field Airport in four planes. The plans were operated by Aerobridge volunteers.
Later this week, supplies will be driven in a tractor trailer. That load will include about 900 pounds of pop-top canned food, four pallets of bottled water and 11 pallets of boxes filled with disaster recovery supplies, Garrick said.
Harvest Hope is accepting financial donations so it can purchase the items most needed by Sandy’s victims. Donations can be dropped off at Harvest Hope, 2220 Shop Road, Columbia, or made online at www.harvesthope.org.
The American Red Cross – which deployed 5,000 people from across the country and 320 vehicles to the region – also still is accepting donations
Anna Kate Twitty of the Columbia region’s American Red Cross returned Tuesday from nine days helping victims of Hurricane Sandy on Long Island.
Each day she was moved by the destruction she saw around her and the humanity that brought people together to help each other.
“It was devastating,” she said. “I never saw anything like it in my whole life.”
Twitty was especially moved by the people who crowded into the Nassau Community College shelter where she worked.
“Neighbors come in who have lost everything, but they have a sense of hope,” said Twitty, the region’s communication officer. “They are alive and they have each other.”
The Columbia region Red Cross has deployed 49 volunteers to the Northeast, where 9,000 people are staying at 95 shelters across five states.
In addition, the local organization has mobilized seven emergency response vehicles that can distribute food and bulk supplies, such as blankets, hand warmers, cleanup supplies and hygiene items.
But there are still needs, mostly the need for cash donations to purchase food and supplies, Twitty said.
To donate call (800) 733-2767 or log on to redcross.org. You can also text “redcross” to 90999 to donate $10 through your phone bill.
“And we’re always looking for volunteers,” Twitty said. Call (803) 540-1200 to help.
Many utility workers from South Carolina, who mobilized last week in Sandy’s wake, remain in the area.
The member-owned Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina sent 90 of its employees from 15 co-ops to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast for restoration efforts, including to New Jersey.
The last of those workers, the Berkeley Electric Cooperative, left New Jersey Sunday night to return home to South Carolina, according to Mark Quinn, cooperative spokesman.
Cayce-based SCE&G, the state’s largest utility, released 162 linemen and 23 contract tree personnel to go to the impacted area last week to help out.
As of Sunday, those workers remained dispatched in four states, the company said, including Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia. SCE&G, a SCANA subsidiary, said it also still has contract tree crews working in Danbury and Brooklyn, Conn., assisting Connecticut Light & Power Co.
“Our contract line crews continue helping Monongahela Power Company customers in Fairmont, West Virginia and Potomac Edison Company customers in Oakland, Maryland, as well as Jersey Central Power & Light Company customers in Jackson, New Jersey,” all subsidiaries of First Energy, said Stephanie Rice Jones, an SCE&G spokeswoman in Columbia, on Tuesday.
Staff writers Noelle Phillips, Jeff Wilkinson and Roddie Burris contributed.