Chamber of Commerce, LMS student council organizing donation drive for victims of Hurricane Michael

Published 5:15 pm Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and the Lafayette Middle School Student Council are joining forces to gather supplies for victims of Hurricane Michael.

The drive came together out of a desire for the students to help those impacted by the hurricane, as well as a connection which their advisor, Penny Allen, made through social media.

“Not only do we strive to make our school better, but our community. So, now, when there is a national disaster, they are often the first to react. I might get a phone call late at night from one of them saying ‘Mrs. Allen what are we going to do?’” Allen said. “I’m from the Delta, though I’ve lived in Oxford for 30 years, and I saw on social media that some people in the Delta wanted to put things together (for the hurricane victims) but that it could take up to two weeks to pack an 18-wheeler.”

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Allen remembered the number of items collected by the Chamber of Commerce during a previous drive and, with that in mind, contacted Pam Swain, the Chamber’s Senior Vice-President.

Swain said that the Chamber had been wanting to do something to support the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael, but given the cost of delivering items to the Florida panhandle, the Chamber had been forced to take a step back and think of the best way to get involved.

“We are just excited that the opportunity came, so we are going to team with the student council and other community volunteers,” Swain said. “It’s just a great opportunity for our community to make an impact on another community in the South that is in such a need right now. It’s just something small we can do that we hope will make a big impact.”

The student council is also working with administrators in the Lafayette County School District to send a text alert to all parents to notify them of the supply drive and Lafayette Middle School has set up designated areas to store supplies as students, parents and other community members donate them.

“Hopefully our halls are filled with supplies,” Allen said.

Individuals who wish to donate but do not have children enrolled in Lafayette County Schools can drop off supplies at the Chamber of Commerce during normal business hours.

Donations will be accepted at both locations until next Thursday, Oct. 25, at noon. The student council and members of the Chamber will load the truck with the supplies that afternoon and the truck will head to the Panama City, Fla. area on Oct. 26.

Supplies needed include body wipes, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes, batteries, flashlights, tarps, non-perishable food, can openers, water jugs and bottles, Gatorade, diapers, bottles, baby formula, food for cats and dogs, bleach, rubber gloves, buckets, brooms, dustpans, contractor trash bags and paper towels.

Used items, including clothing and shoes, will not be accepted.

The Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday.