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Carroll lends helping hand with flood relief for Midwest


As rain continues to soak the Midwest, Carroll residents are collecting bottled water, canned food and other necessities for flood victims there.

And at least one county resident was to be en route to Missouri today to work with displaced families. Marge Libertini of Lineboro, a member of the American Red Cross disaster services team, was scheduled to leave for Platte City, Mo., to help flood-stricken families "determine their needs and how to meet their needs," said Leni Uddyback, a Red Cross spokeswoman.

Ms. Libertini, who could not be reached for comment Friday, is the only American Red Cross volunteer from Carroll County who's heading west, Ms. Uddyback said. Ms. Libertini will be there for about three weeks, the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, a Uniontown resident and the New Windsor Service Center are coordinating separate efforts to send relief supplies to the devastated areas.

Rachelle Hurwitz, working with the Salvation Army, is spearheading a drive to collect bottled water, canned goods and toys for flood victims.

Ms. Hurwitz, a Uniontown mother of three children and a community activist, dubbed her efforts "BYOB -- Bring Your Own Bottled Water." She collected goods Friday in the Cranberry Square parking lot in Westminster.

"If there is a community in this state that can get themselves together and give of themselves, it's Carroll County," Ms. Hurwitz said. "People here can put their differences aside and work for the common good."

Ms. Hurwitz, a member of a recently formed county women's commission, is asking leaders of similar commissions across the state to help in her quest. She also is seeking volunteers to help collect goods and transport them to storage areas.

Goods will be stored at either a church or school -- details weren't worked out yet -- until the Salvation Army makes arrangements for transportation, she said.

"We need toys, games, paperbacks and books for children," she said. "These are kids who have lost their summer. They've lost pets. Maybe we can give them a stuffed animal to hold."

The Salvation Army, she said, will not accept any clothes or used toys.

On Wednesday, the New Windsor Service Center sent the first of many shipments of "Gifts of the Heart" kits to Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo., and Manhattan, Kan., said center spokeswoman Kathleen Campanella.

Kits that are being sent to the disaster areas are designed to get the victims started on a recovery track, Ms. Campanella said. A bedding kit, for example, includes pillows, pillow cases and sheets. A health kit includes a wash cloth, soap, a hand towel and a comb.

Church World Services, a national ministry organization, is coordinating the efforts. The packages include clean-up, kitchen utensil and food staples kits.

"These are things you or I could pick up at a drug store," Ms. Campanella said. "Although these things may seem small, it could mean a lot to someone who has lost everything."

Eugene Wile, the disaster project manager, flew to Iowa Friday to assess the damage and to help develop a plan for long-term recovery.

Ms. Campanella saw the aftermath of the destruction firsthand a week ago in St. Louis. She was representing the Center's SERRV Self-Help Hand Crafts program when the river crested and began to flood suburban areas.

"It [the visit] was completely unrelated to the flood," she said. "The conference just happened to be in St. Louis. On Sunday morning, I did ride around and saw a lot of the homes and farmlands that had been devastated."

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