As quickly as the news of the fires in Carolina Forrest spread, the community was preparing for action. What was amazing to see was how coordinated the efforts were between the Red Cross, United Way, The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries and a whole lot of great people who volunteered their time. Watching Salvation Army and Goodwill staff work side by side in unison coordinating the receipt of thousands of donations from local donors was inspirational.
Just as remarkable are the quick actions of Nicole Coulliard, with Ron Jon’s, who began organizing relief efforts and Robby Love, of X Gym, who is providing warehouse space that is being used as a point of donation and distribution of clothing.
By midafternoon, there was an organized system in place to receive, sort, and distribute food and water, hygiene products, clothing and shoes, linens and bedding and even toys for the children who had lost everything in the fires. The Sports Mall and Beach Church, both on George Bishop Parkway, served as shelter and central distribution centers where assistance could be provided to those impacted by the fires.
What is truly heartwarming was to see all of the local residents and businesses pull together to donate these items in a time of need. The generosity of people never ceases to amaze when there is a call to action. While these initial efforts will address the immediate needs, it will be our local not-for-profit agencies, and a caring community, that will continue to support the ongoing and long term needs for quite some time.
The writer is president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina.