In less than a week, area residents opened up their Texas-sized hearts, filling two tractor-trailers and two box trucks with 68,000 pounds of supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“People’s generosity was nothing short of amazing,” said Chester County Sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh.
On Thursday, the first two trucks left West Chester, headed for San Patricio County in Texas, an area along the state’s battered, southeastern coast. There, Sheriff Leroy Moody has arranged for a secure, drop-off site as well as a group of volunteers to distribute the items.
“One man donated 78 bottles of Tide, explaining that there would probably be a lot of clothes to wash … Another person had three shopping carts full of supplies,” Welsh said. “One woman walked up with a full cart and said: ‘Just give me my purse and bottle of milk, and the rest is yours.’
“Some parents made this a teachable moment and involved their children in helping to pick out items,” Welsh continued. “In fact, we ended up starting a pile of toys and games because that’s a need the youngsters identified.”
Welsh said the initiative began after Ron Giacinto, a captain with the West Chester Fire Police and a volunteer at Good Will Fire Company No. 2, and Ted Hartz, president of Good Will Fire Company No. 2, approached her last week. They had hoped Welsh could use her national sheriffs’ contacts to help them with a relief initiative for Texas, a request Welsh accepted immediately.
Through outreach that included word-of-mouth and social media, area residents were invited to help fill a tractor-trailer, which was parked outside the Giant supermarket in the Dilworthtown Crossing Shopping Center in West Chester. After quickly filling the first truck, organizers scrambled to add three more to accommodate area residents’ donations.
The trip is expected to take two to three days, and the trucks are being driven by Giacinto, Hartz, and two members of the Chester County Sheriff’s Office: Lt. Harry McKinney and Deputy Bill Rosenbaum.
“This has been an incredible experience,” said Welsh. “The volunteers have been absolutely amazing, and so many caring families shared their time and treasures to help those in need… Now, let’s pray for the safety of our drivers as they deliver much-needed food, water, and supplies to the people of Texas who have suffered such devastation.Let's pray for safety for our drivers on their errand of mercy Let's pray for safety for our drivers on their errand of mercy. Let's pray for safety for our drivers on their errand of mercy.”
Photo Caption: Chester County Sheriff Carolyn ‘Bunny’ Welsh poses with the drivers who are transporting 68,000 of needed supplies to Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas: Ted Hartz (from left), Deputy Sheriff Bill Rosenbaum, Lt. Harry McKinney and Ron Giacinto.