Tornado relief drive drawing donations
Rows of cased bottled water and diapers filled a few parking spots at the Club Royal Key parking lot Thursday morning as Friends of the Cape accepted donations to be delivered to the tornado victims in Joplin, Miss.
Individuals dropped off cash and check donations, cases of water and children and adult diapers as early as 7 a.m. Thursday morning for the cause.
After Linda Lobino saw what the Friends of the Cape were doing on the news she wanted to provide a helping hand. She said her husband died a month ago and she had a closet full of adult diapers, which led her to donating a couple bags of them Wednesday morning.
“I think it’s fabulous,” Lobino said of what they are doing to help.
Jerry Martin also brought donations to the Cape Coral Parkway location Wednesday because the members of Friends of the Cape are his friends. He said he personally donated 44 cases of water and collected an additional 34 cases from Walgreens on Cape Coral Parkway and Del Prado Boulevard.
“I told people and they started handing things out,” Martin said. “It’s for a good cause and it helps people out.”
The three founding members of Friends of the Cape, Jim Purin, Kurt Earlywine and Tom Vana, thought of the idea “Friends of the Cape Reach Out” to help victims of the Midwest tornadoes Tuesday night. Earlywine said they spent the entire day planning for the event on Wednesday and made it all happen Thursday morning.
“It’s nice to see the outpouring of the people,” Earlywine said about all the donations they received Thursday. “It is heartwarming.”
Before noon on Thursday, Purin said they already received between $400 and $500 in cash donations and more than 200 cases of water.
He said not a penny of the donations received on Thursday will go towards the organization, but rather additional cases of water and diapers for those in the Midwest.
Earlywine said the cash donations of $20 that they received from individuals is huge because they can purchase seven more cases of water to go to Joplin.
Purin said one donation that gave him goosebumps came from two children under the age of 10. Purin said they both donated $20 of their own money Thursday morning.
The names of all those who donated Wednesday were written down because Purin thought it was important to recognize those who helped in the efforts.
Joe Kocsisko, a member of Friends of the Cape, thought Thursday was awesome because they can pull their part and help other people outside of Cape Coral.
“The response is beautiful,” he said about the community members who donated water, diapers and provided cash donations.
Kocsisko hopes he can deliver the water and diapers for children and adults they collected on Wednesday to as close as Joplin as he can. Kocsisko said he hopes to also pick up some ice about 50 miles from Joplin so individuals can drink their water cold.
Since the drive is about 20 hours one way, he hopes to have someone drive with him late Friday night early Saturday morning, so they can drive straight through and get the items to those who live in Joplin as soon as they can. Kocsisko said he will deliver the items to either the Red Cross or a shelter.
Purin said they will be at the Club Royal Key parking lot during all waking hours Thursday, so they can fill the trailer that will be driven to Missouri.
“We will have people here to help them get things out of their car,” he said.
Helen Ramey, economic development manager for the downtown Community Redevelopment Agency, watched the drive unfold from her office window.
People continued to drop off donations of water, diapers and pet food at a steady pace through the early afternoon hours. She said Wine and Roses dropped off two truck loads of water and Home Depot dropped off two pallets of water.
“It is exciting to see the goodwill from our community for those who are affected by the tornado,” Ramey said.
Donations will be accepted until 2 a.m. Friday and collections will resume again at 7 a.m. The drop-off location is Club Royal Key 1306 Cape Coral Parkway.