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R-C area rallies behind Katrina victims

Twice over the past six years, Roanoke-Chowan area residents were the beneficiaries of the kindness of total strangers.

The time has come to repay those acts of generosity.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina's destructive blow to the Gulf Coast, R-C area residents are rallying to support the victims of that killer storm.

Several fundraising events are scheduled in the local area, all benefiting those whose lives were left in shambles thanks to Katrina's path of destruction through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Most all R-C area residents recall the acts of kindness shown by our southeastern neighbors during hurricanes Floyd (1999) and Isabel (2003).

The following fundraisers have been scheduled in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

** Hotsy Pressure Washing Company, Woodland Supermarket and the Woodland Volunteer Fire Department are attempting to fill a truck full of relief supplies for the hurricane victims.

"The plan is to drive the truck straight into one of the small communities in Mississippi hit hard by the hurricane," said Penny Beasley of Woodland Supermarket. "Two volunteers will operate the truck and hand out the supplies upon arrival."

Beasley said baby food, blankets, tarps, canned food, personal hygiene items and bottled water were the priority items. She said no clothes are needed, but there is a great need for socks and undergarments.

The drop-off point for these items is the Hotsy office, located on Main Street in downtown Woodland.

"We're hoping to have the truck filled and on its way by Sunday," Beasley said.

** The Northampton County High School-East BETA Club and Junior ROTC are hosting a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Today (Saturday), club members will be stationed at Piggy Wiggly in Jackson, Food Lion in Murfreesboro and Conway Food Center in Conway collecting money. That fundraiser will last from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at each location.

Next Friday (Sept. 9), JROTC members will collect monetary donations at the NCHS-East football game, a contest that begins at 7:30 p.m.

All proceeds will be forwarded to the American Red Cross.

** After watching TV images of the horrendous destruction left in Katrina's wake along the Gulf Coast states, Robert Chadwick, GEARUP Coordinator for Hertford County Public Schools, knew something needed to be done.

"People down there have lost everything, from their homes, to their love ones and, in some cases, hope," Chadwick said.

Chadwick is challenging the students and staff of Hertford County Schools to help. He is asking students and staff to contribute "whatever they feel within their hearts."

"The object of this drive is to send at least 1,000 gallons of drinking water to the victims of Hurricane Katrina," Chadwick stressed. "I know we can at least reach that goal, if not more."

He is asking students to give their contributions to their homeroom teachers. Employees can make a contribution at the office of their school.

"Let's show the people of this district that the Bears of Hertford County Schools do care," Chadwick noted.

** Also in Hertford County, Jennifer Taylor of Ahoskie, said the Lord led her to offer assistance for those affected by the storm.

Taylor has arranged for Freeman Metal of Ahoskie to park an 18-wheeler at Newmarket Shopping Center. She is asking for individuals to donate baby items (clothes, food, medicine), and adult clothing along with food, water and toiletries.

The truck will be parked in the shopping center from Friday through noon on Sunday. Taylor said Nebo Baptist Church has agreed to pay for the gas, food and lodging of the driver as he makes his way to the storm stricken area.

** RBC Centura Banks, Inc. announced all of its banking centers will accept donations on behalf of the American Red Cross to support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

All donations will go directly to the American Red Cross.

"RBC Centura has a long-standing tradition of responding when communities are in need," said Scott Custer, RBC Centura CEO.

"It is important to us and to our customers to support the people and communities that were devastated by this storm."

All checks should be made payable to the American Red Cross.

Donations can also be made directly to the American Red Cross by phone at 800-435-7669.

RBC Centura branches located in the Miami-Dade and Broward counties felt the initial effects of Hurricane Katrina when it hit Eastern Florida on August 25 as a Category 1 hurricane. None of the bank's branches suffered extensive damage.

"We were fortunate that none of our banking centers were directly hit by Hurricane Katrina's second landfall," said Custer. "However, people we know and care about felt the brunt of the storm's fury when it hit Aug. 29 and the days following."