Fran Wilson considers herself lucky that her family in Punta Gorda survived Hurricane Charley, but she says they didn't escape with much.
Fran says, "The schools are gone, the hospitals are gone. Every member of my family was affected, either their roofs are gone or my son has a tree in his pool, even!"
Concerned Cairo residents say the devastation in south Florida echoes damage done by past storms right here in our area. They say when north Florida and south Georgia were affected, other communities helped. Now, they're collecting goods to return the favor.
Robert Young, the pastor at Jubilee Community Church, says, "I'm sure they're looking for carpenters and things like that. I can't do carpentry work, but I'm going to put in what I can in there."
The group's goal is to collect enough goods to fill a semi-truck to drive down to southwest Florida this weekend. They say judging by the community's response so far, they just might get enough.
Jerry Mobley, who is collecting goods for south Floridians, says, "We don't have a lot of storage space here; we take it all home! My house is full of goods!"
Folks involved in the collection effort say it feels good to know they're making a difference and there's no telling when they might need a hand in return.
The Christian Truckers Association and members of the Jubilee Community Church will be collecting non-perishable goods outside the Cairo Winn-Dixie all week.
To get involved with the collection effort, call 229-378-8042.