Calhoun's three county commissioners and clerk will be heading to Mississippi tonight, along with some other folks, about 9 p.m., delivering food and personal items donated by Calhoun folks who are supporting Operation Neighbor, a relief effort to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Rev. Robert Shamblin will meet with those going on the journey about 8 p.m. in Grantsville's town parking lot to offer prayer, for those who would like to stop by.

Calhoun Clerk Richard Kirby said he has received about $1,700 in cash donations already, and other relief items are being collected again today at the Grantsville and Arnoldsburg fire stations between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

"The outpouring has been really good," said Kirby.

Commissioner Larry McCallister (L) checks donations in Grantsville
Commissioner Rick Sampson (R) helps out in Arnoldsburg

"We hope there will be more canned and dried food today," said commissioner Larry McCallister, although other items have been added to the list. (see below)

The commissioners were at the fire stations yesterday receiving the donations.

Commissioner Rick Sampson said "This is an opportunity to help our southern neighbors, who really don't have neighbors left."

The commission met yesterday morning to approve some help to the upper West Fork area that was struck by a flash flood last week.

An initial cash contribution of $2,500 is being issued to the Upper West Fork Park to use for the replacement of damaged appliances.

The commission is financing a large dumpster to be placed at the Upper West Fork Park, with an estimated cost of $2,500. The dumpster may need to be emptied several times. It is expected to be delivered today.

The dumpster is being provided for the use of flood victims only, to dispose of debris.

The area will apparently not qualify for federal flood relief, although the American Red Cross has been in the area issuing emergency vouchers and the Seventh Day Adventist Church was issuing supplies, in addition to assistance through the Upper West Fork VFD.

Dozens of Calhoun residents have reached out to the Stinson, Walker, Walnut, Chloe and Minnora individuals who have suffered property losses.

Calhoun's "Operation Neighbor" will go to the Ellisville United Methodist Church in Ellisville, Mississippi, although the effort is multi-denominational.

The greater Ellisville area was struck by Katrina with category 3 wind, and church officials say the area remains in a "desperate state," with little relief coming to the rural area.

The Calhoun truck and a van donated by Grantsville's Senior Citizen's Center will be delivering food and supplies directly to residents who need help.

Ellisville is approximately 100 miles northeast of New Orleans. The area was first opened Saturday to traffic and some aid is beginning to arrive.

Church officials said the only assistance to the area has been from private citizens, and they are eagerly awaiting relief items.

Items added to the "needs list" include bug spray, paper products, baby diapers, formula, adult diapers, and of course non-perishable food and bottled water.

Cash donations may be delivered to the County Clerk's office.

All donations will become part of the county's annual audit.

Donations can be mailed to Operation Neighbor, P. O. Box 239, Grantsville, 26147. Checks should be made to Calhoun County Commission.

The commission passed this resolution yesterday:

"We, the Calhoun County Commission, representing the people of Calhoun County, West Virginia, hereby recognize the overwhelming pain, death and destruction of our fellow Americans in Louisiana, Mississippi and the south, and see a clear need as their neighbors to reach out to them in their time of need."

"We also see a need to reach out to people in the upper West Fork region of Calhoun County who have experienced a flash flood."

"The Calhoun Commission will be directing the relief effort, including the contributing of taxpayer resources to this effort and see it gets done."

Information regarding the relief effort, call Richard Kirby 354-6725 (or)354-6638; Bob Weaver 354-6183; Rick Sampson 354-6307; Larry McCallister 354-6894.


www.katrinahousing.org is a website approved by the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Dept. of Homeland Security - to which folks with an extra house, rental, or even shared available housing, can post their information for Katrina evacuees.

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