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Food boxes help many with losses

Thursday, February 26, 2009

(Photo)
Volunteers Barbara Casey, Vanita Harris, Bonnie Benton and Judy Collier help Tracy Qualls with a Disaster Relief box. The Salem Church of Christ gave these boxes filled with much needed items to residents in the disaster areas Feb. 16, 17, 23 and 24. For those who still may be in need, they can call the church at 895-2455.Photo by Erma Harris
The recent ice storm may have taken a lot out of many people, but it also took a lot out of people's refrigerators. As the power was out for several days, people worried about the safety of their frozen food. For those who couldn't give the food away, they threw out what was spoiled, which was quite a bit. The Salem Church of Christ, however, has been handing out disaster relief boxes stuffed with items to prepare families for another natural disaster.

The amount of non-perishable food items in these boxes equals, if not more, the value of much of the food that had to be thrown out during and after the ice storm, and there are no financial requirements to pick up a box.

Included in the boxes are pasta, paper plates and other dinnerware, MREs (meals ready to eat), instant potatoes and other food items that could be invaluable during a disaster.

There are also packages specially prepared for babies. These packages have receiving blankets, formula, baby food and other items so concerned parents can take care of their little ones during hard times.

Each box was filled with these needed items by caring volunteers at the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort in Nashville, Tenn.

Though power has been restored in Fulton County, residents are still trying to get things back to normal. Remanents of the ice storm can still be seen across much of northern Arkansas. Broken tree limbs and fallen trees scattered along roadsides and branches and logs stacked in front of people's houses are some of the aftermath of the storm.

Empty refrigerators are another remanent of the ice storm. Though many might already have restocked their ice boxes, some may not have the money to do so. "There are a lot of folks where the crunch has hit them," Salem Church of Christ Pastor Mike Yates said.

Yates said these items are not only for residents in Fulton County. "They are for people all over the disaster relief area," Yates said. He said the church has given away boxes to residents from Hardy, Melbourne and Mammoth Spring.

"People from all over the area come in," Yates said.

According to Daisey Howard, of the Salem Church of Christ, during one point when they were distributing boxes on Feb. 16 and 17, they gave away 150 boxes in four and a half hours.

Yates said, about an hour after the church opened its doors Feb. 23, they had already given away 100 boxes.

He said there have also been firefighters come by to pick up boxes for those who live in out-of-the-way places. Yates said people from the Area Agency on Aging have been picking up boxes, too.

"It's been going real well," Yates said. "A lot of people are grateful for the supplies."

The pastor said the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief told him they gave about $566,000 in merchandise to ice storm victims.

Yates said in the past his congregation has supported the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort in other natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. "Now, it's our turn," Yates said.

Churches of Christ in Oxford and Ash Flat have also been giving away disaster relief boxes.

For those who want to donate to the Churches of Christ Disaster Relief, they can send their monetary donations to 410 Allied Drive, Nashville, TN 37211. They can also make credit card donations over the phone by calling 1-888-541-2848.



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