SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - The City of Lake Charles announced today (Saturday) it will join in the effort started by the City of Sulphur and former Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie to collect supplies to aid in the relief effort of Hurricane Isaac. Whild Sulphur's collection is already underway, Lake Charles will begin accepting donations on Sunday, Sept. 2.
KPLC At Your Service is also partnering with the City of Sulphur for donation efforts.
Mayor Chris Duncan and retired New Orleans Saints player Mike McKenzie made an announcement Friday morning at Sulphur City Hall about the details for people to drop off non-perishable item and funds.
Sulphur Firefighters drove one of their trucks to the former Old Tyme store at Ruth and Cypress streets, not for a fire, but hoping to get people fired up about helping those in Southeast Louisiana.
Just minutes before, Sulphur City Officials and Mike McKenzie kicked off the drive at Sulphur Council Chambers. "We've been here before as far as the State of Louisiana, as far as the whole Gulf Coast. And we understand what type of efforts that it's going to take. A lot of families really can't even think about recovery because they're still faced with waters to their roof. A lot of people were just barely able to get out of their homes," said McKenzie.
McKenzie and his family live in New Orleans, but his wife Rachel is from Lake Charles. "I just really want to challenge Southwest Louisiana because it could have been us. It really could have," she told those gathered.
During the announcement, they talked to Parish President Billy Nungesser, there on the ground in flood stricken Plaquemines Parish. "People that lost everything, we estimated about 800 homes lost it all. So, we're taking donations," said Nungesser.
Red Cross spokesman Brian Burton say they can provide a conduit for cash donations to flood victims. "What that does, is it gives the people the ability to decide where they want those assets to go and at the same time, what it does, is allows the community to kind of upstart it's economic recovery also," said Burton.
And the partners urge people to meet other needs such as giving blood. Life share Blood Center's Kristi Morris said, "We want to make sure that we have enough and we can collect here, so that we can send whatever is necessary to take care of their patients."
Meanwhile the emphasis at the start is on supplies they think are most needed. Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan had this advice. "Start with the non-perishables, but the toiletries and the cleaning supplies and the personal hygiene stuff, that's some stuff that they're going to need," said Duncan.
Organizers of the drive hope to fill up the trailer over and over again over the next couple of weeks to help those in need.
Again, donations will be accepted at the corner of Cypress and Ruth Streets, at the former Old Tyme Variety Store. Dropoff hours are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. In Lake Charles, donations will be accepted at a drop off site on the south side of the LC Civic Center from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. The hours Monday - Saturday will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Non-perishable food items and cash will be delivered to hard-hit areas like Plaquemines Parish. Baby care items will also be accepted. Here's a full list:
Baby needs, such as food, formula, diapers and wipes
First aid supplies including Benadryl, isopropyl alcohol, band aids, antibiotic cream
Non-perishable items such as canned vegetables, fruits, macaroni and cheese, cereal, individually wrapped desserts
Towels, linens, blankets and pillows
Clothes (all ages)
Shoes (all sizes)
Miscellaneous household items such as dinnerware, pots, utensils, etc.
Personal hygiene products such as toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, soap, shampoo, etc.
Duncan also expects to have the American Red Cross involved. KPLC7NEWS will have more on this during later editions.
For more information on the effort, call 337-527-4505.
Lake Charles City Administrator John Cardone, Jr. says the city will be collecting the following items:
First Aid kits
Personal hygiene items
Blankets and pillows