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Update: Tornado relief effort continues today

By Staff | May 28, 2011

Rows of cased bottled water and diapers continued to fill parking spots at the Club Royal Key parking lot Friday afternoon as Friends of the Cape accepted donations for the second day to be delivered to the tornado victims in Joplin, Miss.
Individuals dropped off cash and check donations, cases of water and children’s and adult diapers as early as 7 a.m. Thursday morning for the cause, which continued until 2 a.m. Friday morning, the donations began to trickle in again as early as 7 a.m. They were accepting donations until 2 a.m. again Friday.
The Friends of the Cape will continue to accept donations today until 6 p.m. at the Club Royal Key parking lot.
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.”
Earlywine said as of 4 p.m. Friday afternoon they had collected more than 2,000 cases of water, 200 packs of diapers and about $2,500 in cash donations.
Home Depot delivered a pallet of water, which consisted of more than 60 cases, Friday and all six Lowe’s stores also contributed water for the cause.
Jim Kelly, who helped people unload their vehicles until 2 a.m. said he thinks the response they have received is great.
“The great thing is I’m not shocked by the response,” he said about the community members. “This is a great thing.”
The donations started strong Thursday before noon as they collected between $400 and $500 in cash and more than 200 cases of water. They also received diapers for kids and adults.
Purin said not a penny of the donations received 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 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 each donated $20 of their own money Thursday morning.
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 Thursday 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 Thursday 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 names of all those who donated were written down because Purin thought it was important to recognize those who helped in the effort.
Joe Kocsisko, a member of Friends of the Cape, thought Thursday was awesome because they can do their part to help other people outside of Cape Coral.
“The response is beautiful,” he said about the people who donated water, diapers and cash.
Kocsisko hopes he can deliver the collected water and diapers to as close as Joplin as he can. He said he hopes to also pick up some ice about 50 miles from Joplin so storm victims can drink their water cold.
Since the drive is about 20 hours one way, he hopes to have someone drive with him, 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.
Helen Ramey, economic development manager for the downtown Community Redevelopment Agency, watched the drive unfold from her office window Thursday.
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 6 p.m today. The drop-off location is Club Royal Key 1306 Cape Coral Parkway.
The trailer and gas was donated for the drive to Joplin. The Friends of the Cape hope to load the truck of all the donated items on Sunday.