Beaufort News

Church collects truckload of items for storm victims

Lois Bubnell packs a box of kitchenware Sunday afternoon in the parking lot of St. Francis By the Sea Catholic Church on Hilton Head Island. The church is sponsoring a drive to collect items for tornado victims in Alabama. The drive continues today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Lois Bubnell packs a box of kitchenware Sunday afternoon in the parking lot of St. Francis By the Sea Catholic Church on Hilton Head Island. The church is sponsoring a drive to collect items for tornado victims in Alabama. The drive continues today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sarah Welliver/The Island Packet

Area residents came out in droves to Hilton Head Island's St. Francis By the Sea Catholic Church, bringing with them necessities like bottled water, linens and diapers for storm victims in Alabama.

In the aftermath of the severe storms and tornadoes that struck the South last month, the Knights of Columbus Council 10668 and St. Francis parishioners sponsored a drive Sunday and will continue the drive today to collect items needed by storm victims.

Organizers had hoped to fill a Penske moving truck with necessities to take to Alabama on Tuesday, but by Sunday afternoon, the truck was nearly full, said church spokesman Bart Bubnell.

That won't stop volunteers, who plan on continuing the drive at the church today and renting a second truck, Bubnell said.

"No one will be turned away," he said. "First I was praying that we would fill the truck. Now it looks like we'll have more than that. The outpouring has been phenomenal."

Volunteers will depart Tuesday morning for Tuscaloosa, Ala., where they will link up with Catholic Relief Services, which will distribute the goods, Bubnell said. Between 30 and 40 Knights of Columbus, church parishioners and youth group members volunteered to help sort, label and pack the donations, he said.

Residents and local nonprofit groups such as St. Francis Thrift Shop and Cancer Awareness Off-Island Thrift dropped off items such as cookware and blankets, while some area businesses have donated boxed lunches for volunteers and gift cards for gas money, Bubnell said.

Sun City Hilton Head resident Carol Ann Swenson donated boxes of dishes, blankets and other goods. The 67-year-old said the death of her sister last year left her with some extra household items to give.

"People have lost everything," she said. "I have some extra stuff that I can put to good use. It hopefully helps them and makes me feel good that I could do it."

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