Donation drive being held in Chester for victims of Hurricane Ir - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Donation drive being held in Chester for victims of Hurricane Irma

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With people wanting to help in any way possible, community groups, churches and companies have been organizing donation drives.

On Monday morning, Whelen Engineering in Chester started taking donations for those impacted by Irma. People can drop off items between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday at their location at 51 Winthrop Rd.

"We are lucky to be up here and we can donate, so that's what I did this morning," Jane Anderson, of East Haddam, said. 

In Connecticut, some of the most helpful things to donate are the following items: 

  • Non-Perishable Food Items
  • Can Openers
  • Toiletries
  • Baby Supplies
  • Pet Supplies
  • Blankets
  • First Aid Kits
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Water
  • Shoes 
  • Clothes

Officials with Whelen Engineering, which makes lights and sirens for emergency vehicles and sirens warning of natural disasters, said they felt compelled to do something for those devastated by Irma. Many of their employees are volunteer firefighters and EMS.

"Hearing our products in the background, warning people of what's going on, it's awful," Phil Kurze with Whelen Engineering said. "It's terrible. People are going to need our help."

All of the donations will loaded onto a big rig, head up to New Hampshire and then down to Florida. 

While the road to rebuild will be long, people say they want Floridians to know they are with them.

"Let's all come together as Americans and help each other out," Kurze said. "We have people who are really in need and every little bit helps."

While donations are taken in locally, the Connecticut and Rhode Island chapter of the American Red Cross prepares to send another team of volunteers to Florida on Tuesday morning. On Sudan to join the 20 already there.

The about 80 volunteers who have been in Texas are expected to come home soon but not for long. Many of them will rest up and then head down to Florida.

"We're as an organization, the Red Cross does this,” Richard Branigan, with the American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island, said. This is what we are able to scale to and we have thousands of volunteers across the country who are ready to answer the call."

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