Dahlonega hurries to help Houston
Susan Clegg Bruder could only take so much Hurricane Harvey news coverage before she shut off the television and decided to do something about it.
“If I had a boat I’d already have been there,” she said with a laugh. “This is the next best thing.”
That thing is her horse trailer.
Last week she and he husband Dave Bruder decided to drive it to Houston and offer it to any pet owners in need of an animal rescue. But first they drove it to the outskirts of the Walmart parking lot, opened the doors and let Dahlonega do the rest.
“It didn’t make sense to drive an empty trailer all the way there,” she said.
it wasn’t empty for long.
A few handmade signs asking for donations was all it took.
Within a day, Susan’s main concern wasn’t whether she could fill the trailer but whether she’d have enough room to contain the donated goods.
“Dahlonega has been amazing,” she said.
The help for Houston didn’t end there.
The youth of Dahlonega United Methodist Church (DUMC) spent last week putting generous donations to work as they assembled cleaning kit buckets for Harvey victims.
"We have a church member who has a sister-in-law in the Dallas area," said DUMC's Director of Youth Ministry Chris Davis. "We saw a picture where she was riding in the back of a dump truck through the flood waters leaving her flooded home, and that was all I needed to see. I knew we needed to do something."
The money used to purchase the materials came from church members and local merchants.
"I am not sure Walmart was prepared for 36 high schoolers pushing six shopping carts full of cleaning supplies, scrub brushes, scouring pads and bug spray up to checkout," Davis said. "I am very proud to be a part of what the youth of DUMC are doing. They are the future of this little town, and I would say we have a bright future."
The cleaning kit buckets will be delivered to Gainesville First United Methodist Church where they will then be shipped by Syfan Transport to distribution centers which will send them to those in need with help from volunteers in Texas. Syfan Transport donated the use of a truck and trailer to transport all the items collected.
DUMC Assistant Pastor Reverend Robin Parr, who also helped in relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina, believes that it is the church's mission to lend a helping hand anytime that people are in need.
"We are a mission-based church," said Parr. "Because of that, it is just our mindset that when something happens we jump into action. We have the programs in place and know that we can make a difference."
DUMC will be taking donations of cleaning kit buckets from community members through Thursday, Sept. 14. The buckets need to be five-gallons, resealable and filled with liquid laundry soap, dish soap, one can of air freshener, one can of bug repellant spray, a scrub brush, 18 cleaning wipes, seven sponges, five scouring pads, 50 clothespins, a clothesline, 24 heavy-duty trash bags, five dust masks, two pairs of dishwashing gloves and a pair of work gloves.
"This can be a community effort," Parr said. "Anyone who wants to put together one of these buckets can bring it to the church and I will make sure that they are delivered to one of our distribution centers."
Parr stated that anyone interested in donating a cleaning kit bucket can drop them off at DUMC before Sept. 14.
As for the Bruders, they’ve since packed up their trailer and hit the road for Houston. There they hope to meet up with members of Heaven’s Saints, a Christian biker ministry, and visit shelters along the way.
“This is a leap of faith,” Susan said plainly.”I just couldn’t sit by and watch anymore.”
Judging by a their trailer and the stack of buckets at DUMC, she’s not the only one.