Helping Hands

Published 9:54 am Thursday, September 28, 2017

WINDSOR – Frank Mitchell has driven many a truckload of cargo from North Carolina to Louisiana and back.

Later this month, he may make his most gratifying journey of all; his first-ever run to Houston, TX, and it won’t be for profit.

Mitchell, a long-distance trucker, is working with the Bertie Alumni Community Association (BACA), a nonprofit educational and community program, who’ve partnered with the Blue Jay Recreation Department. 

Both groups are spearheading a Hurricane Harvey Disastrous Flood Relief Fundraiser for water, canned goods, and other non-perishable items for the citizens in and around Houston that were victimized by last month’s storm.

“Florida is closer, but Texas was our first destination, so maybe if it works out, we can help folks in both places,” Mitchell said.

The Blue Jay group, located in the Indian Woods community, was recently awarded a grant by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust` for upgrades they plan to make to the recreation area located next to the Volunteer Fire Department.

The relief drive drop off location is a huge tractor-trailer parked in the Food Lion parking lot at the Windsor Square Shopping Center.  The physical address is 109A US 13 N, Windsor, NC.

“Frank is one of our board members,” said BACA president Jackie Lyons White. “He said he was sitting there watching on TV and the Lord put it on his mind to help, so we talked and I told him he had to spearhead it because I had a lot on my plate.”

White’s connections in the Lone Star state also have roots in Bertie County.  Her nephew, Chris Lyons, also a trucker and Bertie High alum, owns a separate trucking company based out of Houston.  Lyons plans to drive the rig from Windsor to Texas if his schedule permits.  If not, Mitchell said he would undertake the journey.

“When we get ready to deliver, we have another connection,” White said. “Porsha Watford Kwasikpui, who used to live in the area, and whose husband, Tremane, is the former student activities coordinator at Roanoke-Chowan Community College.”

Lyons said the Kwasikpuis’ church, Wheeler Avenue Baptist in Houston, will be the distribution point.

Mitchell, who’s never driven to Houston, says he will not let the truck leave Windsor until it is full.

“We haven’t set a deadline, but if it’s not full, I will personally pay out of my own pocket to fill it up,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell, along with volunteers Rickey Freeman, Jesse Allen, Linzy Ruffin, Ronald Rascoe, Gordon Cooper, and Maggie Edwards will staff the parking lot location.

Mitchell said drop-offs have usually averaged three per hour. For those who desire to donate, the committee members say if someone is not on site to accept contributions, they may contact any board member of BACA for a pick-up.

“Some people bring $5 (worth of donations), some have brought as much as $200 worth,” Mitchell related.

In addition to water and the dry goods, monetary contributions will also be accepted.

BACA is seeking support of the local communities and asking anyone who want to donate to this cause to please drop off your donations.

“If you are out of town or out of state you still can donate through our PayPal account under BACA-Bertie Alumni Community Association,” White said. “If you use the PayPal option, make sure you always use the “SEND Money to Family & Friends” option so they won’t charge you a fee.”

White says monetary donations may also be made directly to BACA’s account at Southern Bank.

“However, you need to notify me as BACA President about your deposit so we can give you a tax write-off receipt,” she cautions.

“You can always send checks or money orders to BACA Community Program, PO Box 234, Windsor, NC 27983.  We are nonprofit and all donations are tax deductible provided we have your information for our tax records.”

Mitchell says transport to Texas will total over $200 in fuel and fees, for which he will pay.

“I plan to do whatever I need to do to make sure that trailer is full,” Mitchell stated. “And I want to say to everyone, thanks in advance for your community support.”