Lowndes Co. nonprofits provide Hurricane Idalia relief

Greater Valdosta United Way provides Idalia relief
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 5:51 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2023 at 6:54 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Nonprofits provide during times of need, but there are not many services that provide support to their organizations when disaster strikes.

Greater Valdosta United Way is supporting local nonprofits that have been working around the clock to provide relief to the community following Hurricane Idalia.

Greater Valdosta United Way says they are focused on helping nonprofits respond to critical needs. Many nonprofits sustained damage to their buildings and staff homes leaving them without power where food has spoiled and major repairs are needed.

Capt. Judy Chung, Salvation Army of Valdosta, said, “After the storm or even before they storm they are very much in tune with what we need here. Asking if we need staffing, funding, or funding. They are looking for resources outside of themselves so that we can be supported and continue to provide for the community.”

Greater Valdosta Way Idalia Relief
Greater Valdosta Way Idalia Relief(WALB NEWS 10)

The nonprofit disaster relief FUND will help with utility assistance, especially for the elderly and medically fragile.

Michael Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Greater Valdosta United Way said, “It is important for the dollars donated to stay local and be distributed based on pressing needs across Valdosta and the region.”

The Salvation Army is working with the eight surrounding canteens to serve the community breakfast lunch, and dinner. Each truck feeds up to 1,000 people for each meal.

“Our job here as the hands and feet of Jesus we are here help our neighbors as much as we know how. As much as we can help them better their lives it makes us even better,” Chung said.

The Salvation Army is also offering clean up kits and hygiene products for those who are in need as a way to extend support.

Second Harvest of South Georgia has distributed over two semi trucks of bottle water, 30,000 tarps, 12,000 meals or food worth meals. Including the Kids Cafe sack lunches throughout neighborhoods.

Greater Valdosta Way Idalia Relief
Greater Valdosta Way Idalia Relief(WALB NEWS 10)

Eliza McCall, Second Harvest Chief Programming Officer, said, “They really do a wonderful job supporting us not only financially but sourcing volunteers which is key to our mission here. Also by just helping us spread the word. Sometimes I joke and say they do a better job pitching for us, because they make sure it is front and center what the nonprofits in our community are doing.”

“We have been coordinating with other nonprofits, county EMA’s to make sure the residents of the effected areas are getting what they need that is specific to their needs,” McCall said.

The resources have been spread across Georgia and Florida as many small cities and counties were affected by the storm. The American Red Cross has over 640 volunteers distributed across both states to provide relief.

Jackie Shoemaker, American Red Cross Valdosta Executive Director, said, “Here we have had several 100 from all over the country. We have provided shelf stable meals or hot meals, water, clean up supplies to residents and we really went to where the needs were.”

She said, “During this time he (Michael Smith) took the time out of his schedule to meet with us before he even went out right after the storm to discuss how we can coordinate our resources so that we aren’t duplicating anything.”

The Salvation Army, Red Cross, and Second Harvest are providing meals and disaster assistance to Valdosta residents and surrounding communities.

The Second Harvest Food Bank is accepting volunteers to help packaging relief items by calling (229) 444-2678 or email info@feedingsga.org. Or donate to the effort by visiting feedingsga.org/donate-fund. Meal sites in Valdosta and surrounding communities are update on social media daily.

Salvation Army of Valdosta providing Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner at 320 Smithland Place.

The Salvation Army donations are accepted by visiting helpsalvationarmy.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY, or text “STORM” to 5155.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations online at redcross.org, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or text “IDALIA” to 90999. The American Red Cross also is in need of blood, during this time and donations are being accepted at locations in Georgia and Florida.