Lions Clubs from across the region, including Avon Grove, Christiana and Parkesburg, are working together to help Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey. On Nov. 8, a 53-foot tractor trailer was filled with much-needed supplies, which will be distributed where most needed.
Christiana Lion Jim Groff explained that after Hurricane Harvey hit, everyone wanted to help immediately, and area Lions Clubs sent one truckload of items to Texas soon after the storm. However, he added that there are ongoing needs in storm-damaged areas, and people still recovering from the storm are in need of specific types of supplies.
The Christiana Lions Club and Groff, in particular, have a history of helping victims of natural disasters. In the past, Groff has traveled to help at tornado-devastated Joplin, Mo., and New Jersey towns hit by Hurricane Sandy. Groff has even developed a disaster response unit containing commonly needed equipment that can be transported to wherever it is needed and used as a base of operations for volunteers.
Working with Lions Clubs from Texas, local clubs developed a list of most-needed items. To help generate donations, the disaster response unit was on display at the Cochranville Plowmen's Association Tractor Show and Pull last month.
Groff said that the Lions have received help and donations from all across the community, including Amish families and members of the American Legion. "Everybody came together to make this happen," he said.
On Nov. 8, the tractor trailer heading to Texas was loaded with the collected supplies. The process began at the Avon Grove Charter School, where members of the Leo Club packed diapers and baby supplies. Medical equipment was donated by the Avon Grove Lions Club.
"We have several pallets of medical equipment - we have crutches, canes, walkers and miscellaneous items," said Avon Grove Lion Bob Yeatman. "These are items that people had donated to us. We have a program where we loan out all kinds of medical equipment to people in the community. We had an excess of some items, so we loaded them up and are sending them down to Houston."
The next stop was in Cochranville, where Lion Jane Frank had provided the use of a storage building for the effort. Avon Grove, Christiana and Parkesburg Lions brought the supplies they had collected to this central point to await shipment. After pallets filled with boxes of items were loaded onto the back of the trailer, it was off to Shillington, Berks County, where further materials were added before the truck turned south to Texas.
Additional drop-off points posted by other Lions Clubs were located in Scranton, Harrisburg and Altoona. The clubs' biggest challenge was finding trucking companies to help them with transporting supplies.
"This whole effort is statewide," Groff said. "We're known to be one of the most giving states. Our state shows a lot of support for any disaster area in the United States."
Lions Clubs are still collecting needed materials, as they plan to help Florida hurricane victims next. "That will be our next push and, after that, Puerto Rico," Groff said.
For more information about donating, readers may contact Groff at 610-636-2612 or visit http://www.facebook.com/ChristianaLionsClub.