published Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Sand Mountain residents eager to help other victims

Video: Catoosa County Courthouse security camera records Ringgold Tornado

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Anyone who would like to donate the use of a tractor-trailer to haul the supplies can call Jay McAnnally at 770-294-0142.

Residents of Sand Mountain, Ala., would like to pass on some donations for storm victims to people in other areas hit by tornadoes, but they need trucks to deliver the supplies.

The donations came from all over the nation, most from complete strangers. In the weeks after the April 27-28 tornadoes, the steady stream of supplies coming in and given to tornado victims was invaluable. Towers of water, food, clothes, diapers and paper towels are stacked on pallets in churches and distribution centers from Bryant to Flat Rock.

But now, as the recovery shifts to rebuilding, many of the items no longer are needed.

Community members would like to pass them on to residents of Joplin, Mo., where a tornado leveled about one-third of the town and killed more than 100 people nearly two weeks ago.

“If someone can use it, we want to send it out there,” said Kim Smith, with Ebenezer Baptist Church in Bryant.

The church served as a distribution area for the community and for other churches, and its gym has been filled and emptied many times over.

The only problem is, so far residents haven’t found anyone to volunteer trucks or drivers to get the supplies across several states.

Volunteers emptied the church’s gym this week and stored most of the supplies in a warehouse because they needed to do something with them, Smith said. She isn’t sure exactly what all they have, but bottled water, paper towels, toilet paper and clothes are some of the main items, she said. Other churches and centers have items, as well.

Last week, Jay McAnnally, chaplain for the Carl Black Automotive Group in Kennesaw, Ga., unloaded cleaning supplies and towels for several distribution centers on Sand Mountain. He and his volunteers then loaded water, diapers and boxed cereal, hoping to find someone to deliver the items to Joplin. So far, he hasn’t had any luck.

All the items probably would fill at least one 53-foot tractor-trailer, possibly two, McAnnally estimated.

“[Local folks] could probably eventually use these items, but they want to give them to people who need them more,” McAnnally said. “All we need is someone who will take them out there.”

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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