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A shield of help
Rincon Police leads effort to provide relief to Alabama tornado victims
relief 2
Rincon Police Cpl. Jose Ramirez shows off the donations the Rincon Police Department took in as part of the Alabama tornado disaster relief efforts. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

The items gathered and boxed at the Rincon Police Department are a varied and sundry assortment, all headed to disaster relief efforts in Alabama.

Because, as Rincon Police Cpl. Jose Ramirez pointed out, “everything means everything.”

“Everything we take for granted,” he said, “they need right now. Even a five-gallon bucket goes a long way. They’ve lost everything.”

The Rincon Police spearheaded a drive to collect a wide assortment of everyday and household items for families in Alabama who had their lives turned upside down by a swath of tornadoes. They also collected supplies for the crews who are working to clean up those storm-ravaged areas.

Businesses and individual citizens heard the police department’s call for help. Rincon Pediatrics and Pooler Pediatrics donated baby supplies, and the Pregnancy Care Center pitched in, too. BB&T, The Heritage Bank and HeritageBank of the South collected donations of supplies and money.

The First Baptist Church of Rincon’s Weekday Ministries lent a hand, and Jenkins Plumbing contributed to the cause as well.

Local dentists provided boxes of toothpaste and toothbrushes, and Dr. Kerry Freeman donated saline solution and contact lens supplies. Walgreen’s and Lowe’s have pitched in with help.

Rincon Fire Department members have helped their police brethren load the trailer with boxes. Sunday schools from local churches inquired about what they could do in the effort.

Even as he reeled off the groups and businesses who had helped, Ramirez was quick to apologize if he omitted any names.

Items for infants were among the most sought after donations, as are the staples of life.

“Water and food are always the biggest items,” Ramirez said.

They took in “tons of clothes, bags of clothes, boxes of clothes,” Ramirez added, and they also got plenty of things for the kids displaced by the storms.

“Even toys and coloring books that these kids need,” he said. “They should be living and having fun, not worrying about cleaning up their home. It means a lot to those kids.”

They’ve also taken donations of sunscreen and insect repellent for the cleanup crews.

“It’s gone really well,” Ramirez said of the donation effort. “It’s tremendous how our community has come together. Everybody stepped up.”

Bringing in the donations for people they don’t know who have lost everything they had has meant a lot to the Rincon police officers.

“It’s been something. It’s also impacted us, too,” Ramirez said. “It’s teaching us those life lessons.”