Community pulls together to offer local flood relief

By on September 21, 2011

Communities are beginning to pick up the pieces of their lives following the aftermath of destruction caused by Tropical Storm Lee. While Ephrata area residents are still reeling from the devastation Lee left behind, they can take comfort in knowing that the community has come together to offer aid and assistance to victims of the storm.

Josh Grine and Heather Butler, both of the Leola Worship Center, along with churches, organizations and officials representing the Ephrata Borough, Ephrata Township and Akron Borough, have come together to support the needs of their neighbors, friends and families. A community meeting was held Sept. 15 at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Ephrata, where the local residents’ needs, both immediate and long term, could be assessed.

Following the needs’ assessment, a group of concerned individuals, churches, fire companies, businesses and the Ephrata Borough met to determine the next plan of action. A very special "thank you" was extended to the local fire and police departments for doing such an outstanding job in a very difficult and challenging situation.

A permanent collection/distribution center will be announced shortly, but in the interim, Blue Ridge Communications is acting as a temporary drop-off site for immediate needs including cleaning supplies (Clorox and other disinfecting products), gloves, buckets, masks, trash bags, personal hygiene items (tooth brushes/tooth paste, soap, deodorant, combs, razors), towels, wash cloths, blankets, pillows, etc.

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Cindy Mellinger, Marketing/Community Relations Coordinator, may be reached at 733-6006 extension 2551 or cmellinger@pencor.com.

Several churches and non-profit organizations have also stepped up to help. Those who wish to make a donation of clothing should contact Shannon Hurst, 587-7524 (Hinkletown Mennonite Church).

Food donation inquiries may be made to Matt Lenahan at 859-2100 (Akron Zion Lutheran). Furniture and appliance donation questions may be referred to Tina Thompson, Dove Westgate, at 733-9256. Please contact these churches to make arrangements before dropping off donations.

Monetary donations may be sent to Ephrata Area Social Services (EASS). A separate account has been set up for local area families. If contributing by check, make payable to "Ephrata Area Social Services" and mark "Flood" in the memo, or somehow designate the money for the Disaster Relief program. One hundred percent of the moneys will go directly to the support of the Ephrata Area Residents.

More information will be forthcoming as to the distribution site, collection hours and hours when families may visit to select much-needed items.

Anyone who has been affected by the flood and is in need of aid should contact Josh Grine at 717-656-4271. More FLOOD RELIEF, page A7

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