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One Roanoke Valley radio station already has a curbside's worth of bottled water ready to go.
BRAD KLODOWSKI | The Roanoke Times
MATT CHITTUM | The Roanoke Times
Radio station K92 on Virginia 419 in southwest Roanoke County has been collecting cases of bottled water today with the intention of sending it west.
BRAD KLODOWSKI | Special to The Roanoke Times
K92 DJ Kidd Carter helps unload a truck full of donated water. K92 sponsored a bottled water drive to benefit victims of the recent tornado in Oklahoma.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Behold the power of the airwaves.
Disc jockeys at Roanoke’s K92 radio station wanted to do something to aid those in the path of the catastrophic tornado that hit Moore, Okla., on Monday, so they put out a call on the station (WXLK-FM, 92.3) Tuesday morning for listeners to drop off bottled water at the station on Virginia 419.
By lunchtime, hundreds of cases were stacked in the parking lot, and still coming.
“We’re shoulder-deep, man,” said DJ Kidd “Freakin” Carter. “We really didn’t expect this great of a turnout.”
The effort is one of several gearing up in the region to deliver aid and relief to the tornado victims.
Another radio station, Spirit FM (WRXT-FM, 90.3), and TV station WSLS (Channel 10), are partnering with relief group God’s Pit Crew to collect water, easy-to-open packaged food and personal hygiene items today and Thursday in the parking lot of the Walmart in Bonsack. New Vista Montessori School also will be collecting the same items at Jefferson Center in Roanoke to contribute to the God’s Pit Crew effort.
The Roanoke-based Virginia Mountain Region chapter of the American Red Cross is taking stock of available volunteers who might be sent to Oklahoma to aid in the relief effort, spokeswoman Amy Whittaker said. It’s unclear if the volunteers will be needed, she said, but she expects if they are called they would be deployed for a long time.
The local Salvation Army chapter is on standby, awaiting word from the national organization about whether they will be sending relief workers, supplies, or both, spokeswoman Suzanne Gandy said.
The water collected at K92 will be delivered today to the Gleaning for the World relief mission based in Lynchburg to supplement that group’s effort.
“The idea is we’re going to stop at one truckload, but it looks like we might already have one,” Carter said. That was at 1 p.m. and the station continued the call for help on the radio and through social media, and planned to take donations through the end of the business day.
By 1:30 p.m., station workers had loaded 150 cases into a box truck and Carter was on the phone with the Kroger company to get some advice on how high the cases of water could be safely stacked and how much weight the truck could handle.
And the cases of water continued to roll in. Some came with messages scrawled in marker across the top. “VA [hearts] Oklahoma,” was written on a few.
Tiana Guillot, 28, and Tyrone Booker, 29, of Roanoke dropped off two cases.
“We watched it and we would love to go down and help, but financially that’s not going to happen,” Guillot said, “But, you know, every little bit.”
Rhonda Shepherd drove in from Smith Mountain Lake to drop off five 35-bottle cases of water. The mother of a 9-year-old daughter was moved to help by the number of children killed in the tornado.
“Even my little one’s saying, ‘Is there anything I can do?’ ” said Shepherd, 29.
The girl plans to find clothes and toys she can part with and ask her teacher at Dudley Elementary School in Franklin County if the class can help somehow.
The loading crew still was waiting on word about stacking limits when Gaby Saliba pulled up in his pickup truck with an entire pallet holding 48 cases of 40 bottles and another 19 cases piled in the crevasses around it.
Workers at the MemberOne Federal Credit Union passed the hat to collect more than $200 to buy water, and Saliba bought all he could get with it at Sam’s Club.
But with no forklift, it all had to be moved from one truck to the other via bucket brigade.
With sweat beading on foreheads and Carter wishing aloud he’d worn shorts to work, his fellow DJ, Ryan O’Brien, voiced the conclusion that anyone might come to looking at the space left in the truck and the water stacked all around.
“We’re going to need a bigger truck.”
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