“I just came up with the idea,” said Mary Gump, an EMT with the Berkeley County Emergency Ambulance Authority. “It’s our job to help our community and now it’s time for our community to help some communities in New Jersey.”
She calls her relief effort “Stuff-a-Truck.”
Area residents are being asked to drop off a requested list of needed items at any fire or EMS station in the county before Dec. 7. Volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel will sort, label, load the truck and send it north to a distribution center in Atlantic City, N.J., on Dec. 8, Gump said.
The truck and driver are being donated by South Berkeley Hauling, she said.
Needed are nonperishable foods (no glass), first aid kits, nonprescription medications, flashlights, boxes, packing tape, personal hygiene products, pet supplies and food, five-gallon buckets, household cleaning items, water, games and books for children, baby bottles and formula and other basic essentials.
Money donated to the drive will be used to buy more supplies, Gump said. “Clothing is not needed,” she said.
“People in New Jersey are in desperate need,” she said. “They have no electricity and they can’t even cook. That’s why they need food that’s ready to eat. We’re asking our community to be as generous as we can. It’s our job to help when people are in need and these people need our help.”
Gump decided to launch the drive after she found a contact through an Eastern Pennsylvania United Way agency that covers parts of New Jersey hard hit by the massive storm.
Capt. Ed Gochenour of Berkeley County Fire, said Gump is organizing the drive on her own. “She’s pulling all the resources together to help our neighbors in New Jersey.”
Volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel will set up a container at the Spring Mills, W.Va., Walmart store today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to collect items for the drive.