Tift relief drive just grows and grows - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tift relief drive just grows and grows

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September 16, 2005

Tifton-- Many of you have donated time, money, or supplies to help hurricane victims.

Workers at a Tifton company were overwhelmed by the response to their drive. After a week of collecting water, they packed their bags and headed west to deliver it those affected by the storm.

When workers at the Smith, Branch, and Pope Century 21 office kicked off their Water for the Weary campaign they hoped to collect 50,000 bottles, enough to fill an entire semi-truck. They never expected the overwhelming response they received.

"We actually got a semi and a half. So we got more than we can take, but we hope to go back in late November and take another load," says Karen Thomas.

Ten people from the office will spend the weekend in Pascagoula, Mississippi, making sure the water gets to those who need it most. "First Baptist Pascagoula has opened up as a distribution center. They told me that they have a line of about two miles of cars there waiting for items that they need, and we'll be helping fill their cars," explains Cathy Young.

Georgia Vegetable, an area produce company, not only donated the use of their truck and a driver, but also packed the water into pallets. During the 10-day drive, organizers say they've seen both the young and old give straight from their hearts.

"We had one little boy who came, and all he could give was one bottle of Dasani water. I thought about the poor woman when everyone was giving their tithes, and she gave the last two pennies she had and that was the greatest gift of all. When that little boy left, I just stood there with tears in my eyes," Thomas says.

Now the group is hoping they can return the favor by giving to those who have lost so much. The group will return to Tifton Sunday. They're planning another collection drive called Christmas for Katrina's Kids.

The realtors hope to collect books, games, and toys for children affected by the storm.

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