Salem area residents are joining volunteers from across the nation in the effort to provide assistance for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
Food, clothes, medical supplies, money, toys, blankets, water and other items were delivered Sept. 6 to the Cedar Glade Campground near Imboden by Jimmy and Pamela Smith of Salem.
The Smiths set up a tractor trailer behind the Fulton County Sheriff's Department to collect items.
"We were just sitting around wondering what we could do to help," Pamela Smith said. "And this was the best thing we could come up with."
Approximately 50 people donated goods and items, Smith said.
According to officials, up to 300 evacuees could be placed at the Cedar Glade Campground by the end of the week.
Smith said she and her husband do not have any relatives that were affected by the devastating hurricane that likely killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands of people along the Gulf Coast.
But she said her husband has several business associates who work in New Orleans.
"We've talked to several of them since the hurricane hit and they're all right," Mrs. Smith said.
Jimmy Smith transports hay with his tractor trailers.
"The hay business has been pretty slow right now because of the drought, so my husband had time to load and move the trailer," she said.
A friend of the Smiths, Becky Bartz, assisted with the collection efforts.
"I'm just thankful we're able to help, even if it's in a small way," Bartz said.
Originally the Smiths planned to load the tractor trailer with supplies and take them to the Gulf Coast, Smith said.
She said they changed their mind after being contacted by Jordan Hall, a part-time pastor who lives in Pocahontas.
Hall told the Smiths about the possible influx of evacuees at Cedar Glade Campground and the need for supplies.
"We were willing to go all the way down (to the Gulf) if we had too," Smith said. "But we thought it would be better to help people closer to home."
By Monday afternoon, the Smiths and Bartz had collected $130 in donations, but most of the money had to be used to pay for the fuel to take the tractor trailer to Cedar Glade.
Hall donated part of the money to transport the goods, Bartz said.
Additional items collected by the group included diapers, furniture and books. Blankets donated to Premier Home Furnishings in Salem will also be transported by the Smiths to Cedar Glade.
The load of goods was not entirely comprised of items donated by Salem area residents.
Raymond and Pammy Smith of Moody, Mo., dropped off a pickup truck load of items and supplies.
Raymond Smith and Jimmy Smith are cousins.
"I gathered up a few things at our church and brought it down here," Raymond Smith said.
Pammy Smith said they thought about taking their donated goods to West Plains, but decided against it. She said officials in West Plains would not take clothing donations and had other restrictions of what could be donated.
Raymond and Pammy Smiths' son, 6-year-old Luther, helped them unload their cargo.
"Look at all these toys I can play with," Luther Smith said to his mother.
"Yeah there are a lot of toys here for kids who have nothing to play with," said a smiling Pammy Smith to her son. "And I know they're going to like it when the get them."
Pamela Smith said their collection efforts will continue throughout this week.
She said her husband and others will take blankets being collected by Viola area students to the campground at the end of the week.
Bartz said their efforts have been successful and they may collect items this week for the anticipated arrival of evacuees in Fulton County.