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The Journal Gazette

  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette Keith Atteberry, left, and Jason McPherson hang a sign on a semi parked at The Chapel on West Hamilton Road. The hurricane-relief collection drive is one of several local efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Thursday, September 07, 2017 1:00 am

Helping Harvey's victims

Numerous local agencies, residents organize drives


At a glance

Other Fort Wayne-area groups helping provide relief to those affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey:

GT Autobody/Twins Transport

What: Loading a semi for Katy, Texas

When and where: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sept. 23, 3330 Engle Road

Accepting: Bleach (liquid, wipes and spray), dish and laundry detergent, deodorizers, Pine-Sol, toilet cleaner, buckets, mops, brooms, rags, toilet brushes, glass cleaner, gloves, face masks, trash bags, first-aid kits, dehumidifiers, wet-dry vacuums

Contact: Gene Smith, 478-1773

Community Harvest Food Bank

What: Passing donations to Feeding America for use in hurricane-affected region

When and where: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 999 E. Tillman Road

Accepting: Money, nonperishable food, personal care items, bottled water and cleaning supplies

Contact: 447-3696 or

Salvation Army

What: Sending donated semi to Houston

When and where: 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays at 2901 N. Clinton St., or 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at Preferred Auto, 5005 Illinois Road. Donations accepted until truck is full.

Accepting: Nonperishable food (no chocolate, candy, water or beverages, flour, sugar or items packed in glass), baby care items, hygiene products. Also accepting checks made out to The Salvation Army with Hurricane Harvey in the memo line sent to 2901 N. Clinton St., Fort Wayne, IN 46805.

Contact: 744-2311 or

Fleet Feet Sports

What: Sending gently used running shoes and new socks to San Antonio and Houston

When and where: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays as long as need continues, 5661 Coventry Lane

Contact: 432-3270 or

When pastors at The Chapel in Fort Wayne put out a call last weekend for donations to help with cleanup from Hurricane Harvey, people responded.

So much so that the tag-along cargo trailer the pastors expected to use to transport goods filled up.

“We needed a bigger boat, so to speak,” Associate Pastor Dave Walters said Wednesday, standing behind a donated semi filling with wet-dry vacuums, generators, yard equipment and other supplies.

Given the scope of the disaster in the Houston area, in east Texas and other parts of the Gulf Coast – and what Walters expects in terms of Fort Wayne's response – perhaps an ark might be more size-appropriate.

“People will step up,” he predicted. “That's how people in Fort Wayne are.”

Around Fort Wayne, drives are being organized this week to help those whose lives have been disrupted by a storm that hit land as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds, dumped more than 4 feet of rain in some places and caused massive flooding.

From restaurants sending food for evacuees to disaster-recovery company Protechs Inc. assembling a crew of 12 to help dry out waterlogged buildings, area businesses and residents are coming forth with their talents, time and treasure.

Community Harvest Food Bank is accepting money, food, personal items, bottled water and cleaning supplies. On Sept. 24, GT Autobody in Fort Wayne and Twins Transport Inc. in Columbia City are sending a 53-foot semitrailer with cleaning supplies to a Pentecostal church coordinating recovery efforts in Katy, Texas.

“They need cleaning supplies like crazy,” said Gene Smith, an employee at GT Autobody and coordinator of the drive. “They tell me the water is starting to go down and the mold is starting to grow pretty bad.”

Walters said the trailer at The Chapel, donated with a driver by church member Bart Bunn of Bunn Inc. in Fort Wayne, is a collaboration between The Chapel, Pathway Community Church and New Covenant Worship Center, all of Fort Wayne.

Supplies can be dropped off at any time through 5 p.m. Monday, Walters said. Sporting banners reading “Hurricane Relief” on its sides, the semi is parked in The Chapel's parking lot at 2505 W. Hamilton Road.

The rig will leave early next week for a destination determined by Samaritan's Purse, a nonprofit Christian disaster relief organization already working in Texas, Walters said. That organization is run by Franklin Graham, son of the Rev. Billy Graham.

“We totally defer to people in the field,” Walters said.

He said the drive is accepting only requested items. On the list are appliances, including generators, wet-dry vacuums, dehumidifiers and fans, and tools, including flat crowbars, channel-lock pliers, snow shovels or scoops and dollies.

Also needed are cleaning items, including Concrobium mold-removal products, N95 and N99 personal-protection masks, rubber work and cleaning gloves, ear and eye protection and kneepads. Packing boxes and tape and stand-up plastic garbage bags are also requested.

The Chapel is referring those who wish to donate money to Samaritan's Purse's website at, Walters said. The congregation plans to organize local work teams that will go to the hurricane region in the next few weeks in conjunction with Samaritan's Purse, he said.

People also can assist through the church's website at or by calling 625-6200.

The Chapel, with weekend attendance of 2,400, has a history of responding to disasters, Senior Pastor Rick Hawks said. Members helped after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, and Henryville, he said.

“Since Katrina, ... we've tried to be a church that responds to disasters,” he said. “You're going to help people in need, but you walk away feeling blessed. ... You come away with your faith in people restored.”