Paying it forward

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A local writer is teaming up with a retail giant to help hurricane victims. Cheli Strumila from the Coast Observer is urging South Mississippians to give back.

That's why Strumila started the 'Pay it Forward' Drive. The relief effort will help victims of Hurricans Ike and Gustav. However, nearly two weeks into the pay it forward drive, donation bins remained empty.

"It was really breaking my heart because I would go to both entrances and exits and not one thing was in the boxes," said Strumila.

Retail giant Wal-Mart immediately jumped on board.

"Several bins were located at every single store, that way we could try to give to families in need in Texas," said Jay Murphy, assistant manager at the Wal-Mart in D'Iberville.

Wal-Marts from Waveland to Pascagoula set up 'Pay it forward' bins, but what started as an act of generosity, turned into slow relief from South Mississippians.

"I was like, oh my God, please Mississippi Gulf Coast, don't let me down. Let me know that we are as proud to give as those who gave to us," Strumila said.

Two weeks later and people on the coast are donating loads of supplies to help hurricane victims.

"They were getting over-filled where we had to have at least a two-week pick-up because customers and people in the area were trying to help out as much as they could," said Murphy.

Now organizers hope the gift of giving will continue during the home stretch of the drive so that people along other parts of the coast will know what it truly means to pay it forward.

People can donate at any South Mississippi Wal-Mart until next Saturday, November 1st.

Organizers say they are still in need of items like bleach, baby wipes and gift cards. Or if you have clothing you would like to donate, you can call 228-432-5801. F&S Moving and Storage has volunteered to store and deliver the supplies.