County aids in relief

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2005

During a time when things seem hopeless for evacuees from Louisiana and Mississippi displaced by Hurricane Katrina last week, Shelby County residents and businesses are trying to do whatever they can to make the pain a little easier.

From monetary donations at the local bank branch to entire cities pledging support funds, county residents are doing whatever they can to help residents of the Gulf Coast.

&uot;These are people who are living in horrible conditions,&uot; Frontier Bank marketing director Cindy Harper said.

Frontier branches have put out collection jars at each teller station and a box for canned goods and food at entrances.

&uot;We have to do whatever we can to help,&uot; Harper said.

The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce donated the money it raised from its monthly luncheon last week to the relief effort.

SSCC director Stacey Walkup said the chamber raised about $250 from the event, which was attended by 30 people from the community.

One of the biggest issues facing the hurricane relief effort, however, is finding immediate housing for the thousands of residents who lost their homes in the storm or are unable to return to their communities because of damage and flooding.

Shelters for displaced residents are on standby in Shelby County, and a number of housing points are already open throughout the Birmingham metro area.

Oak Mountain State Park has opened its campgrounds, cabins and RV parking spots to hurricane refugees.

As of Monday, park officials reported that they had two families staying in cabins and 18 campsites filled with refugees. A total of 100 evacuees are currently calling the park home.

Crosscreek Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Columbiana and the First Baptist Church of Alabaster were all on standby Friday as possible shelters in Shelby County.

The county also spent last weekend preparing the John E. Jones Exhibition Center to house about 200.

Yet another need for hurricane victims, medical aid, is prompting local medical businesses and state health officials to mobilize their resources to aid this effort.

Regional Paramedic Services from Alabaster sent three of its ambulances to help evacuate patients from area hospitals in Biloxi.

The service was reportedly transporting sick residents to the Baptist Montclair Medical Center in Birmingham.

The list of local organizations and businesses that are doing whatever they can to help continues to grow.

The city of Alabaster joined with the Salvation Army in establishing the Alabaster Katrina Relief Fund. Mayor David Frings challenged residents to do their part in supporting the hurricane aid effort.

Residents interested in donating can go to any AmSouth bank location or send the donation to: Alabaster Katrina Relief Fund, c/o Alabaster City Hall, 201 1st Street North, Alabaster Al, 35007.

The Kiwanis clubs of Columbiana and Chelsea have partnered together to donate $250 to the relief effort.

The Vincent Fire Department and the city of Vincent are raising money at roadblocks throughout the city to raise funds this weekend and next. Residents are encouraged to donate at one of the roadblocks or by stopping at city hall.

Local high schools from around Shelby County passed buckets at Friday night’s football games to raise funds for both the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

The Columbiana Church of Christ will host a collection center today through Friday for residents of the Gulf Coast. The church is asking for everyday items from socks to nails that people might need during this difficult time.

The collection center will be open from 3-7 p.m. on those days and the church is also offering to pick up items that people are wishing to donate.

For information, call 670-5001