In response to the demand, a relief effort for victims of Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys has grown.
In addition to the parking lot of the Giant supermarket in the Dilworthtown Crossing Shopping Center, organizers have stationed a second tractor-trailer outside the Acme in the West Goshen Shopping Center. Volunteers will accept donations at both sites from about 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the next several days -- or until the trucks are filled.
The initiative began after a couple of first-responders approached Welsh following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey last month. She reached out to her national sheriff connections, and 68,000 pounds of supplies subsequently made their way from Chester County to San Patricio County in Texas.
Welsh said that the Texas drive was so successful that residents soon began requesting that something similar be done for Florida. Members of the Florida Sheriffs’ Association agreed that the Keys were the hardest hit, and Welsh made contact with Sheriff Rick Ramsay, who oversees that area. He enthusiastically agreed to coordinate the drop-off and distribution, noting that some of his residents “lost everything.”
Recommended donation items include non-perishable food, such as granola bars, boxed milk, and canned goods; paper products; trash bags; toiletries, such as shampoo and toothpaste; baby food and supplies, such as wipes and diapers; flashlights; and cleaning supplies. Clothing cannot be accepted; however, packages of new socks or t-shirts would be appreciated.
Welsh said that other agencies are welcome to organize their own collections and bring the donations to the truck. She said the Sheriff’s Office would have limited availability to pick up bulk supplies; any groups who need to arrange for delivery should call 610-344-6860.