'Send what you can'

September 16, 2004|by TAMELA BAKER

HAGERSTOWN - An e-mail message from a friend in hurricane-ravaged Florida convinced Valen Meadows it was time to take action.

"We have been lucky," his friend wrote. "We got power and phone two nights ago - only out four days. Many people still do not have any. Actually came across some ice today and brought it to a family I knew could use it just a few minutes ago - what happy faces. They have not had power for six days. It's almost a third-world country for some. Get together with your communities and send what you can, it's needed."

Meadows and his father, Jim, who operate Meadows Agency of Insurance in Boonsboro, began contacting business associates for help. Three other businesses immediately stepped up - Blue-Gray Transport and Twigg Cycles in Hagerstown, and Pennsylvania-based McCafferty Ford.

Valen Meadows called Roy Jones, president of Blue-Gray Transport, and said he needed a truck.


"I said, 'No problem.' The second thing was, 'Where?'" Jones said.

So Tuesday morning, a Blue-Gray trailer was delivered to the lot at Twigg Cycles, at 200 S. Edgewood Drive, which is serving as the collection point for what organizers hope will be a full load of emergency supplies for the victims of Florida's succession of hurricanes.

Already reeling from Charley and Frances, residents from Louisiana to central Florida were bracing for the onslaught of Hurricane Ivan, expected to lash the Gulf Coast with wind and rain today, and make landfall by early Thursday.

In the meantime, this local hurricane relief effort is collecting several items for hurricane victims, including:

· generators

· blankets

· tents

· bottled water

· icemakers

· canned foods

· dry foods

· drinks

· flashlights

· clothing

· money for gas or generators

"And basically anything," Valen Meadows said.

Those wishing to contribute may take items to Twigg Cycles during business hours, which are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Items likely will be accepted through Tuesday, Valen Meadows said.

While they realize the donation of a generator would be expensive - prices run from $600 to $3,800 at Twigg Cycles - Jim Meadows said contributions toward the purchase of generators would be appreciated.

"We're hoping for a lot of donations," he said.

They decided to wait until next week to send the supplies to Florida because "we wanted to see what happens with Ivan," Valen Meadows said. "We don't want to send anybody into harm's way."

The exact destination of the aid hadn't been determined, he said. They're waiting for fellow Nationwide insurance adjusters to tell them where the greatest need will be.

Those who would like to donate items but can't get to Twigg Cycles may call the Meadows Agency "and we'd be glad to pick it up," he said.

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