Gainesville residents are helping to clean up the historic mess being caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Jamey Prickett, an associate pastor at Gainesville First United Methodist Church, is coordinating a local effort to collect 5-gallon buckets filled with post-flood cleaning supplies that will be distributed to Houston-area homeowners after Harvey lets up on Texas.
The volunteer drive began on Tuesday, Prickett told The Times, and is part of a greater effort coordinated by the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
“It’s a wonderful time for people to come together,” Prickett said.
Collecting and delivering the buckets to Houston is the work of many hands. Along with First United, several companies and schools have gotten involved in the work.
Local Ace Hardware, Home Depot and Chick-fil-A stores are donating 5-gallon buckets, and trucking company Syfan Logistics is donating the use of a truck and trailer to transport the buckets.
Prickett said a trailer will be parked in front of First United Methodist Church at 2780 Thompson Bridge Road from Wednesday to Sept. 14, after which a Syfan driver will carry the goods to either Decatur, Alabama, or Louisiana.
The list of cleaning supplies has been compiled by UMCOR based on years of responding to floods, including the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and other Gulf states.
Prickett said it’s important that donated buckets include all of the cleaning supplies on the list, as buckets with missing components will take more time from volunteers to fill.
People can also donate cash to relief efforts, and Prickett said money donated is completely used on helping people affected by the hurricane. Administrative costs are covered by the Methodist Church.
Helping with the effort are the teachers, coaches, students and parents of schools in North Hall County.
Students on the North Hall High School girls basketball and softball teams spent Tuesday handing out fliers on school grounds explaining the needs of First United and UMCOR, said Assistant Principal Amy Smith and basketball coach Kristi House.
A full bucket costs about $65, the women said, and North Hall High School at 4885 Mount Vernon Road will be a donation point for the buckets in addition to the Methodist Church. North Hall Middle and Mount Vernon, Riverbend and Wauka Mountain elementary schools are also collecting supplies for the effort.
Donations will be accepted at Mount Vernon at 4844 Jim Hood Road until Sept. 6 and at the North Hall High front office through Sept. 8.
North Hall is also accepting cash donations, which House and Smith said will be used to fill any missing cleaning supplies in the buckets collected for First United.
Other churches are also working to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey. The Chattahoochee Baptist Association, through its Mission Georgia ministry, has set up a page with information about how to help Houston.