Local group steps up in wake of Hurricane Sandy - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local group steps up in wake of Hurricane Sandy

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -- A local organization is doing its part in the relief effort after Hurricane Sandy unleashed devastation in the U.S. and beyond.

Cleveland, Tennessee-based Operation Compassion has been sending supplies to almost all affected areas and say they won't stop until everyone's taken care of. When the group heard Sandy was coming they started packing supplies for victims immediately.

"We started getting calls from the Caribbean Thursday before Sandy came towards the United States," recalls Lisa Boen, Vice President of Operations.

With the help of volunteers and partners such as Feed The Children and Soles4Souls, pallet upon pallet have been rolling out of its 80,000 square foot warehouse.

"We have blankets and bottled water. We have shoes, cleaning supplies," says Boen. "We have a partner bringing in a cooking unit to be able to make several thousand hot meals a week."

Millions in the path of the storm are without power and basic necessities. While the extent of damage differs from one disaster to another, Boen says they all have a common bond.

"They're all different but they're kind of all the same. The same basic needs are there for everyone," explains Boen.

Operation Compassion is not only helping people in the Caribbean and the mid-Atlantic, but at least one truck full will make its way to West Virginia to the Appalachian Dream Center where supplies will be distributed to those who are snowed in.

"With two to three feet of snow on the ground getting a semi-truck in there is rather difficult," says Boen.

It's a logistical nightmare at times, but Operation Compassion hasn't tired of it after twelve years. They sent supplies to New Orleans for 18 months after Hurricane Katrina struck and are in this for the long haul.

"We're in this until the need is not there anymore," says Boen.

The organization has also sent building supplies to affected areas. Operation Compassion deploys three to five thousand semi-trucks full of supplies a year to disaster sites.

Boen says personal donations of new items--clothing, non-perishable foods, etc.--are welcome, but the most needed item is money for shipping costs. To make a donation call Operation Compassion at (423) 728-3932 or visit www.operationcompassion.org.

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