Local relief on the way to Oklahoma

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The Galax Fire Department and Cornerstone Church are teaming up with others to get prayers and supplies to tornado victims.

By Staff Reports

Firefighters are joining with a local church and a Galax industry to collect and deliver much-needed supplies to victims of deadly tornados in Oklahoma.
This week, pastor Michael Morris, announced that Cornerstone Church in Galax was joining with the Galax Volunteer Fire Department and God’s Pit Crew to collect supplies on Saturday. They will be at Walmart in Galax starting at 8 a.m.
The local Woods River Chapter of American Red Cross also is collecting monetary donations from the community to help with disaster relief.

“The greatest need at this point is for financial contributions, which will be used for transporting and buying supplies to provide relief to those affected by this tragedy in Oklahoma,” Morris said.
A trailer will be set up at Walmart on Saturday to collect supplies. Consolidated Glass & Mirror in Galax will deliver the trailer to the God’s Pit Crew warehouse in Danville, where it will be sent to those in need.
Clothes are not needed at this time, Morris said, but the biggest needs are:
• financial contributions for God’s Pit Crew to use is assisting the victims
• bottled water
• personal hygiene items (soap, toothpaste, deodorant, toilet paper, etc.)
• diapers
• canned food that doesn’t need to be heated and preferably has a easy opening lid
• prayer
“In a time like this, it is easy to feel helpless,” Morris wrote on the church’s website this week. “We want to give you an opportunity to make a difference and share the love of Christ.”
Cornerstone Church had a special prayer service on Thursday night for the victims of the devastating storms.
Morris said prayers go out to “the families who lost loved ones, the first responders and recovery teams that are serving, the local police and fire departments, the churches in the communities that were affected and the community leaders.”
Red Cross officials in the region say that their phones have been ringing off the hook with questions about how they can help those affected by the tornados in Oklahoma.
People are very generous with their in-kind donations, noted Annie Harvey and Grady DeVilbiss of the Woods River Chapter of American Red Cross.
“It’s the way people open up their hearts,” said DeVilbiss, the disaster services program manager for the Twin Counties and Wythe County area.
“The best way to help where the Red Cross is concerned is monetary donations,” said Harvey, the new executive director of the Woods River Chapter, who also serves as the director of the New River Chapter.
The ability of the disaster relief organization to get discounts for buying in bulk makes financial donations go farther, she explained.
DeVilbiss got out one of the pails that’s filled with cleaning supplies and a bag of personal hygiene items that the relief agency gives out to help people start their recovery.
Red Cross has activated 200 relief workers to provide assistance and sent 30 emergency vehicles equipped with supplies and equipment and to distribute food, water, materials and comfort supplies, just like the ones DeVilbiss displayed.
Red Cross personnel have also opened shelters, kitchens and emergency aid stations that provide for a variety of the survivors’ needs, including emotional support and health care.
Relief officials report that more than 380 people had sought refuge in the shelters Tuesday in areas of Oklahoma, as well as Texas.
The scope and the scale of the emergency caused by these storms means it will take the residents and the communities a long while to rebuild.
“We know this is going to be a long-term recovery, which is another reason why monitory donations are so important,” Harvey said.

People are welcome to drop off their monetary donations to American Red Cross at the chapter’s office at 244 Beeline Road, off U.S. 58 just east of Galax.

For more information on Saturday’s item and donation collection event at Walmart, contact Mike Ayers at (276) 233-5767.

To donate online to God’s Pit Crew and its disaster relief efforts, visit www.godspitcrew.org.