Today is the last day to donate to a hurricane relief drive that will send three Harlem men to hurricane-stricken Mississippi Friday with a trailer they hope will be filled with supplies.
The Rev. Phillip Vestal, (left), pastor of Harlem Baptist Church, Frank Poole (middle) and Chris Gurley (right), all of Harlem, prepare the 28-foot-long trailer they hope to fill with necessities to take Friday to a community in Mississippi that has been devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Chris Gurley, owner of Sunrise Grill, has found a way to help hurricane victims through his family connections at Gurley's supermarket in Grovetown and as a member of Harlem Baptist Church.
"We have been, since it happened, wanting to do something to help them out," Gurley said. "...It's been driving me nuts wanting to do something."
Gurley passed out order forms to church members last week and is taking orders for cases of several necessary items at case price including potted meat, Vienna sausages, tuna, water, saltine crackers, diapers, baby wipes, bar soap, alcohol and pet food.
Gurley, Frank Poole and Phillip Vestal, pastor of Harlem Baptist, will take the supplies to a needy and less publicized community in Mississippi, which hadn't been determined as of Friday.
"We're going to get it to the right place somewhere, somehow," Poole said, adding that he donated the use of his pick-up truck and 28-foot-long enclosed trailer to transport the items. "... The sooner we get them supported back up, the sooner they are back to normal, the sooner the country is back to normal.''
Vestal said the church's fellowship hall at the corner of Milledge Road and Louisville Road is a drop-off location for donations of necessary items such as toiletries and food items. The trip to Mississippi will not be a one-time visit but the first of many to a community the church hopes to adopt, Vestal said.
"I told Chris that one of my passions is that this is not just a one-time drop-off because there is going to be a long-term relationship," Vestal said.
Gurley said they plan to locate a needy community, deliver the supplies, meet the residents and pray with them.
"We just want to do our part and we want to help," Gurley said.
The first load of supplies will leave Friday, but Gurley said the drive will continue and will include more non-essential items such as clothes and toys on follow-up trips. The deadline for Friday's trip is Wednesday evening, when the order for cases needs to be turned in.
Gurley said the drive is a good way for people who want to do more than write a check to be involved. Anyone interested can call Gurley at 833-6888.
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