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Locals offer aid

By Staff | Jan 17, 2014

Locals have found ways offer aid to the thousands of Charleston area residents still being impacted by last weeks chemical spill.

After the Freedom Industries spill in the Elk River left the local water supply contaminated, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued a state of emergency for Boone, Cabell, Clay, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Putnam, and Roane counties, calling in assistance from the National Guard.

In a press release, WV Sen. John Unger, representative for Berkeley County, called for Eastern Panhandle residents to “join in assisting the people impacted by this disaster in Charleston and the surrounding area.”

Members of the Shepherdstown Business Association (SBA) took the call and began collecting monetary donations early this week.

SBA member and owner of the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery, Pam Berry, said the donations would go toward bulk purchases of needed supplies.

“So far we’ve collected about $400 dollars,” she said in an interview Tuesday.

“That’s just in one day.”

Berry said the participating businesses will continue to be collect supplies with no planned end date.

“As long as the need continues, we will continue to collect money,” she said.

The items purchased in bulk will go directly to the National Guard for distribution, Berry said.

Though restrictions on water usage have gradually begun to be lifted, Berry said the ramifications of the spill continue to affect residents.

“It’s far from over,” she said.

“There are still people in great need.”

Shepherd University also answered Unger’s call to service this week.

A donation drop off station was set up at Shepherd Universitys Wellness Center according to information released by the university.

The university called for distilled water for medical devices, sanitizer, wipes, liquid baby formula, paper plates, plastic utensils, and microwavable meals.

Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Holly Frye said this in a press release issued by the university:

“When a crisis or need arises, the students, staff, and faculty at Shepherd are ready to do whatever they can to help. Shepherd University was asked to serve as a Jefferson County drop-off location for supplies, and the Wellness Center seemed to be the perfect location.”

The university collected materials through Wednesday morning of this week.

Pam Berry said the Sweet Shop Bakery is also accepting checks to be donated to the United Way’s “Warm Hands and Hearts,” program for those left out of work and unable to pay bills due to the disaster.

Monetary donations can be dropped off at the Sweet Shop Bakery, located at 100 W German St. Call 304-876-2432 for more information.