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Local efforts gather help for Oklahoma tornado victims

Donations of canned goods, generators and gift cards are encouraged

POSTED: May 21, 2013 11:58 p.m.

Syfan Logistics is working to do its part to help victims of the tornadoes in Oklahoma.

The company will provide a truck, driver and trailer to deliver much-needed supplies to those affected by the disaster.

Those who wish to donate are asked to bring items such as canned goods or nonperishable dry foods, manual can openers, tarpaulins, hand tools, construction tools, generators, diapers with wipes, Wal-Mart gift cards and monetary donations to assist the victims.

When Greg Syfan with Syfan Logistics heard of the tragic destruction in Moore, Okla., his reaction was one of sadness and shock, he said.

“I just absolutely felt horrible for that whole community,” Syfan said. “I can’t comprehend it. It’s obviously very, very sad. Our heart goes out to those people.”

Syfan decided to help when one of the company’s customers from the General Motors plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., called and asked if the company would help transport the plant’s donations and collect donations from its own area. Since the company has helped with other disaster relief efforts, including those for victims of Hurricanes Andrew, Hugo and Katrina, Syfan immediately agreed, and the company started organizing the effort.

Syfan urges everyone in the community who can help to give as much as possible. He said the items will not only help the town of Moore, Okla., but will assist the neighboring communities that were also affected by the storms.

“It’s bigger than just the exact hit area,” Syfan said. “Every little bit helps.”

The company is hoping to waste no time in assisting these communities. The trucks will leave Gainesville on Thursday afternoon and deliver donations to Oklahoma.

Syfan said it is urgent to help as quickly as possible.

“(We hope) that we’ll get what they are needing right now to them very quickly,” Syfan said.

Other organizations in the area, including the local Girl Scouts, Ace Hardware and General Motors, are participating in the relief effort. National charities such as the American Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse and the Salvation Army are also accepting financial donations for the victims.

Anyone who wishes to donate can do so at local drop-off locations.

These include the Syfan Logistics/Turbo Truck Center on Old Candler Road, during normal business hours, Lakewood Baptist Church and Gainesville First United Methodist Church, both on Thompson Bridge Road, and the upper parking lot of Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Robert Puckett, minister of missions and outreach at Lakewood Baptist Church, said the church is not just a drop-off location but is organizing its own effort to offer assistance.

“We’re partnering to render help at a time of desperate need,” Puckett said. “Our prayers are with the people of Oklahoma.”

The trucks will be at the church today from 8:30 a.m to 8 p.m. and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Donations at all locations will be accepted until 5 p.m. Thursday.


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