When Arnold volunteer firefighters Lance Miller and Randy Hopkins traveled to the Houston Astrodome last week to work with the Red Cross in helping Hurricane Katrina evacuees, they didn't arrive empty-handed. Their pickup truck was piled high with boxes of clothes, schoolbooks, toys, socks and toiletries for evacuees.
"The evacuees were so thankful," Hopkins said by phone from the Reliant Center in Houston.
The items brought to Houston by the firefighters came courtesy of Annapolis Cares, a new nonprofit group collecting donations of clothes, water, toys, medical supplies and toiletries from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in the parking lot of Sam's Club at 2100 Generals Hwy. in Annapolis. The group was started by Crofton resident Beate Kanamine.
Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville donated the three box trucks that Annapolis Cares is using to transport items, while Bank Annapolis donated its time to expedite the process for creating the nonprofit organization.
"We are not stopping and can't," Kanamine said. "We need to pull together and keep going."
All of the donations are welcome, said Charlyn Auzene, of the Donation Response Center at the Reliant Center. "And we appreciate the outpouring of love."
That outpouring for Katrina evacuees has been occurring throughout the Anne Arundel County.
The Salvation Army has sent residents from the county to the affected region to work with the charity's mobile kitchens. The American Red Cross of Central Maryland is organizing one-day training sessions to prepare volunteers for three-week periods of disaster relief in the affected states.
Tag Along Farm in Davidsonville is raising money from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday to assist animals affected by Hurricane Katrina, offering pony rides in exchange for $5 donations.
The Equilibrium Horse Center in Gambrills is hosting a similar Red Cross fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, an event that will include $5 pony rides, face painting and a bake sale. The Equilibrium fundraiser was organized by Jessica Curry of Crofton, a senior at Archbishop Spalding High School.
Anne Arundel County deployed three mobile command and communication units to New Orleans to support first responders in Louisiana. The units have been able to establish communication on Jefferson Parish's emergency management frequency and the Louisiana State Police local frequency. Radio communication with nearby clinics has also been established.
The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is also collecting diapers, baby needs, bottled water, plastic utensils, paper goods, first aid supplies, over-the-counter medicines, nonperishable food items, personal hygiene items, blankets and batteries (no clothing or cash) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at two convenient sites.
Equilibrium Horse Center is at 1685 Underwood Rd. in Gambrills. 410-562-7014 or www.equilibriumhorse.net.
The Salvation Army is collecting names of local residents interested in volunteering to work with the charity's nine mobile kitchens. The Salvation Army is also accepting cash donations and diapers, baby wipes, baby bottles, large trash bags, pencils and paper, batteries, flashlights, toiletries, plastic ware, paper towels and hand sanitizers. To volunteer or donate, contact the Annapolis chapter at www.salvationarmyusa.org or 410-263-4091.
American Red Cross of Central Maryland volunteers are trained in family services and mass care and are expected to feed and care for large numbers of evacuees at one time. To volunteer, call 410-624-2023 or 410-624-2024, or visit www.redcross-cmd.org. To make a cash donation, call 800-HELP-NOW or visit www.redcross.org.
Annapolis Cares is also collecting diapers, energy bars, and books for children and adults. Supplies are driven to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. For more information, call 410-919-7008.
Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is collecting donated goods at Eastern Correctional Institution, 30420 Revells Neck Rd. in Westover on the Eastern Shore, and Maryland Correctional Institute, House of Correction Road in Jessup, off Route 175. 410-339-5065.
Tag Along Farm is at 1602 Governors Bridge Rd. in Davidsonville. Donations will support Habitat for Horses in Hitchcock, Tex., which provides equine rescue services to law enforcement agencies, and Noah's Wish in Placerville, Calif., which helps keep animals alive during natural disasters. The event will take place rain or shine. 410-798-6665 or visit www.tagalongfarm.com.