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Gulfport firefighters load up trucks with Hurricane Ida relief

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:32 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - After about 10 days of donations, South Mississippians managed to gather 32 pallets worth of supplies at the downtown Gulfport fire station for Hurricane Ida victims across the state line.

“For the people that want to know, ‘Hey when I drop off, where is my food going?,’ this is it,” Gulfport Fire Chief Billy Kelley said.

The fire department was one of many drop-off sites for the One Coast One Recovery campaign, aimed at taking donations from Mississippi to communities in need in Louisiana.

“We kept it organized, that way when we do have a truck like this come in, we can get these supplies to the folks that need it,” accreditation manager Darrin Hill said.

D’Iberville firefighters filled up half of an 18-wheeler with donated supplies before it and another truck stop by the Gulfport fire station for more goods. Both vehicles are en route to Larose, LA, an area where relief supplies are trickling in.

“(They’re getting) a lot of cleaning supplies, a lot of hygiene products, a lot of food,” Hill said. “There’s some items in there for children, coloring books, backpacks.”

While it took a lot of hours and a lot of manpower to organize all of these donations, firefighters said it’s all worth it to help a neighbor in need.

“We’ve been on the other end of this. We know what it’s like to be sitting around wondering where your next bottle of water, your next bath or anything like that is coming from,” Kelley said.

Coast first responders have firsthand experience of what it’s like after a major storm, and they know it could of just as easily have been our community hit.

“That could have been us by 50 miles. We could’ve been on the other side of this coin,” Kelley said.

Firefighters said the relief will lift up struggling families while putting smiles on their faces.

“So it makes you feel good to be apart and help these folks,” Hill said.

Another team of Gulfport firefighters is currently in LaPlace, LA with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and other Mississippi first responders. Their mission is to help feed the St. John Parish deputies for the next four days.

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