Several efforts underway in Onslow County to help Texas residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey
Trucks full of bottled water and other essential supplies are headed to Texas by way of Onslow County to help those recovering from the flooding and devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Donations of bottled water, diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, pet food, cleaning supplies and other non-perishable items were quickly filling a box truck parked Tuesday outside of Ray Properties/ABA Rentals on Henderson Drive as word spread of the disaster relief collection drive.
“I think Onslow County is amazing in its generosity. The people here never fail to pitch in when help is needed,” said Debbi Rouse of Ray Properties.
Debbi and her husband, John Rouse, are working with friends to coordinate the disaster relief effort.
John Rouse said they began talking about ways to help Sunday and the effort has grown from there.
John Rouse said he talked to friend Jeff Brown, owner of Onslow Grading and Paving, and that quickly led to them having one tractor-trailer filled with water and ready to go along with the box truck. The two were working Tuesday on getting access to a second tractor-trailer truck to add to the mix.
“We have the funds to fill a third truck,” John Rouse said.
Rocky Carter of Swansboro volunteered to help with loading items on the truck.
"Many hands make the job much easier," Carter said of the group effort that has gone into making the disaster relief project happen.
The plan is for the trucks to leave for Texas early this morning.
John Rouse said that the extensive flooding will prevent them from driving into Houston so they are working with the Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief group in Dallas to ensure all the donations go directly to the people affected by the hurricane.
For area residents who couldn’t make it out in time to drop off donations at Ray Properties, there are other options to help as well.
Kenny Schibi, a Navy corpsman stationed aboard Camp Lejeune, will be taking his leave days to head to Texas to take donated supplies to Hurricane Harvey victims in the Rockport and Corpus Christi areas.
Schibi and his wife, Angela, are both from Texas and have friends and family living in the areas impacted by the storm.
“We just want to step up and do what we can,” Schibi said. “I call Texas my home and want to help however I can.”
They are collecting bottled water, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, baby items and “anything that could possibly help” and plan to load it into a 17-foot trailer and take it to Texas to distribute to those who need the items.
Schibi said he’s made arrangements with the owner of Bob’s Auto Center of Jacksonville at 1127 Lejeune Blvd. for items to be dropped off at that location during business hours.
The Schibi family plans to leave for Texas on Sept. 6 and stay there for about 8 to 10 days.
Schibi said they will be paying for the costs of gas and making the trip and all donations will go directly to the Texas residents in need. He has also set up a Go Fund Me page at gofundme.com/assistance-for-south-texas.
While John Rouse will be on his way to Texas Wednesday, their effort doesn’t end when the trucks pull out.
For area residents who want to make a monetary donation, a Harvey Relief Fund has been set up through First Citizens bank. People can donate to the fund by going to a First Citizens branch or stopping by Ray Properties.
“Every dime will go to Texas,” John Rouse said.
ONWASA helped with collecting items for the trailers leaving Wednesday.
Area businesses have joined collection efforts as well. Mindy’s Dance Attack in Sneads Ferry announced on its Facebook page that items could be dropped off there.
Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com or 910-382-2557.