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Residents helping with storm relief
Brunswick and Golden Isles residents are setting out to help their northern neighbors in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and they are asking the community to help.

Toni Mugavin of Glynn County said she will be collecting vital items today at the Ritz Theatre during First Friday to be sent to New York via Jacksonville.

For Mugavin, the devastation in Brooklyn, the Bronx and other areas hits home.

"I used to live up there. My brother lives in Staten Island. He lost his house, his cars -- everything. He went home the day before yesterday, and there were five body bags on his street alone," Mugavin said Thursday.

As of Thursday, the death toll had climbed to 90. There were 38 in New York City alone.

Mugavin is collecting bottled water, diapers, baby formula and sanitary wipes to be added to a truck leaving from Jacksonville this weekend.

Billy Zeh, chairman of local ministries at College Place United Methodist Church, is calling for people to bring bottled water, diapers and baby formula to the church as well. Zeh said those items are of peak importance to people who are in need.

"We want to get our trucks rolling Monday because they need water right now, formula right now and diapers right now," Zeh said.

The church has entered a deal with Swift Trucking, which has agreed to donate at least one truck for the trip, Zeh said.

For those who want to simply donate money, Zeh said that is an option as well.

Red Cross Southeast Coastal Chapter Director Donna Davis said two teams have already left, and more may head out soon.

"Sunday is when the (Emergency Response Vehicles) left for New York and New Jersey with volunteers, and we do anticipate sending more," Davis said Tuesday.

Vehicles and volunteers from all over the coastal chapter, which includes 25 counties between Chatham and Camden counties, headed out Sunday to answer a national call for relief, Davis said.

Marty Jones of Savannah said he and his wife answered the call Sunday.

On Tuesday, they left Virginia, where they had been waiting for the brunt of the weather to pass, and headed toward New Brunswick, N.J.

"What we'll likely start doing is mass care feeding and also delivering what we call clean up kits -- mops, brooms things -- so when they go back to their homes (and) start cleaning up," Jones said.

Jones and his wife, Cindy, are no strangers to disaster relief.

"This is my 10th time out. I started in Katrina in 2005," Jones said. "In 1994, when my son was younger, my house had about a foot of water in it, and we got relief from the Red Cross. My wife and I always talked about repaying for that, so we got involved."

Davis said Tuesday the Brunswick chapter's main objective in national response is to send people and raise money.

"Our chapter is responsible for raising money. People can click on the 'donate now' button on our website or contact us here at the chapter," Davis said.

Help Out

To donate or volunteer, call Donna Davis, director of the Southeast Coastal Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross, at 265-1695 or email donna.davis@redcross.org; Toni Mugavin at 996-0541; or Billy Zeh at College Place United Methodist Church at 3890 Altama Ave. Brunswick, 265-4883.



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