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Camden Military Academy, others help with relief efforts in the Midlands

Posted: October 12, 2015 8:15 p.m.
Updated: October 13, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Provided by CMA/

Camden Military Academy (CMA) cadets help a family in Forest Acres on Thursday whose home was completely flooded by removing furniture and salvaging valuables. After arriving, cadets learned one of the home’s residents once lived in Camden.

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Thursday, a pick-up truck towing a trailer followed a tractor trailer as it left Camden Military Academy (CMA) for Columbia, filled with a combined load of 500 cases of water, an additional 20,000 bottles of water and hundreds of jars of peanut butter and jelly.

The small caravan arrived later at Harvest Hope Food Bank in Columbia where dozens of CMA cadets unloaded the goods and went on to assist individual families in the area.

“The boys at the school raised the money, along with faculty and staff,” Headmaster Col. Eric Boland said. “I called Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews and he said there was no immediate need for these items in the county, but suggested Harvest Hope because it services Kershaw County.”

Boland said CMA board member Art Dumont found out what was happening and decided to pitch in, too.

“He owns Custom Glass in Salisbury, N.C., and put together a tractor trailer filled with the 20,000 bottles of water. He told me to ‘take it where it was needed,’” Boland said.

He said Dumont is planning a second trailer full of supplies, but asked CMA to wait an additional week to determine where it needs to go. Boland said it could come here, to Kershaw County, Columbia again, or even Charleston.

CMA Director of Admissions Casey Robinson said the delivery to Harvest Hope also included toiletries. Afterward, Robinson said cadets assisted families the academy learned about through St. John’s Episcopal Church in Columbia’s Shandon neighborhood.

“The rector there reached out and we answered the call,” Robinson said. “The rector at St. John’s has worked with the academy in the past.”

One home where cadets assisted was in Forest Acres. It was completely flooded and cadets helped remove furniture and salvage valuables. After arriving, they learned one of the people living in the home is a former Camden resident.

“It was purely a coincidence that a family member had previously lived in Camden; the rector did not know that when he called,” Robinson said.

Cadets also went to St. Michaels Episcopal Church in Columbia. Robinson said the chapel was flooded and all the furniture and pews had to be removed. CMA cadets also passed out water to those in need there, and delivered more water to the Benedict College area of Columbia.

“It was pretty cool to see the kids do this,” Boland said. “It was also eye opening. There was a mile-long line of cars trying to get to Harvest Hope.”

The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) also held a drive for donations to Harvest Hope Food Bank. According to a note on the KCSO’s Facebook page, Matthews’ administrative assistant Sam West Connell was responsible for coming up with the idea. Even young children donated as little as $1 to help out with the cause and brought homemade treats for deputies volunteering for the effort. According to one Facebook entry, employees from Dixon Hughes Goodman -- which included an anonymous Kershaw County native -- in Atlanta showed up with a truck load of donations. Another truck of goods came from Bethune Discount Groceries, owned by the Weaver family.

The KCSO continues to serve as a donation drop-off location today until 6 p.m., accepting canned meat, fruits, vegetables; sports drinks; bottled water; baby formula; baby diapers; and baby wipes.

Another, separate student-based effort came from Camden High School (CHS).

Friday morning, 25 CHS students traveled to rival Lower Richland High School to deliver a large supply of water, detergent cleaning supplies, paper products and clothing.

In addition, the Kershaw County School District (KCSD) -- which returned to a regular schedule today -- is holding a series of blood drives with the American Red Cross to help shore up blood supplies following the heavy rains which caused flooding throughout South Carolina, including the Midlands.

Other local efforts include:

• KershawHealth’s “10,000 Items in 10 Days” campaign -- accepting various items for people in all counties affected by flooding. Collection bins are located in the main hospital’s cafeteria, the welcome center at KershawHealth and Elgin Urgent Care. KershawHealth is also accepting cash or gift cards to Walmart, Home Depot or Lowe’s, through the hospital’s nursing supervisor.

• The Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center, 607 Broad St., in Camden, is accepting non-clothing donations Monday through Friday. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (803) 432-8452 to learn what they need.

• Elgin Town Hall is also accepting non-clothing donations at 2469 Main St., Elgin, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (803) 438-2362 for more information. Elgin Town Hall also served as a special donation event location from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, accepting clothing, household and personal hygiene items.

• Clothing donations can be dropped off at the Blaney Backyard Grille, 1244 Pine St., Elgin, (803) 438-9971; and Mike Taylor Properties, 2448 Main St., Elgin, (803) 408-0006.

The chamber and town of Elgin are using a S.C. Emergency Management Division list of items to accept donations. Items on the list include:

• Bedding -- blankets, sheets, pillow, pillow sheets, sleeping bags, cots

• Ice -- bagged, bulk, dry

• Medical Supplies -- non-prescription drugs, Band-Aids, tape, ointments, spray

• Children’s Items -- baby diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby food, non-electrical games

• Paper Supplies -- plates, bowls, cups, towels, toilet paper, plastic flatware

• Cleaning Supplies -- disinfectant, bleach, mops, buckets, rubber gloves, plastic gloves, sponges, brooms, plastic trashbags

• Water -- canned, bottled

• Non-Perishable Food: pop-top canned goods, dry cereal, prepackaged snack items, canned meat, peanut butter, 100 percent fruit juice, dry milk, Gatorade.



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