Local activists step up to help flooding victims in South Carolina: ‘I feel bad for these people’

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Some Northeast Ohio natives who now live in South Carolina say the historic flooding there is astonishing.  Meanwhile, some local activists are gathering supplies, hoping to help those affected by the storm.

By mid-afternoon on Monday, people started dropping off donations at a U-haul truck in the parking lot of radio station 89.1 FM in Lorain.

“We’re collecting cases of water, non-perishable food, diapers, cleaning supplies. What also we’re gonna need is monetary donations because we have to rent the truck; we have to pay for the gas, and we’re gonna have to pay for tolls,” said community activist, Angel Arroyo.

Arroyo hopes to fill up the truck by Saturday.  He also has one set up to accept donations at the Second District police headquarters on Fulton Road in Cleveland.  Then he plans to make the 650 mile trip to South Carolina to hand out supplies to victims of the historic flooding.

“It’s touching because me, seeing multiple families outside of churches because they don’t have any water; they don’t even have a house right now,” said former Elyria resident Paige Kolenda.

Kolenda moved to Sumter, South Carolina after she joined the Air Force.  She’s no longer enlisted, but still lives in the area, working in Columbia, the state capital.

“My supervisor said it was best for me not to come into work because of how bad the roads were, and for safety; I mean some roads are even blocked off to where you can’t drive on them,” Kolenda told Fox 8 by phone.

Paige feels lucky. She lives on the third floor of an apartment complex, but water and grass still come up through her sink.  Paige says just a block away, homes are destroyed.

“Some homes are still halfway filled up with water; cars are still submerged,” she said.

Paige says she welcomes the much-needed help from her hometown.

“You see these kinds of things on the news and you know, you take it in, but until you see it with your own two eyes, it’s just- I feel bad for these people,” Kolenda said.

Arroyo says the donation truck will be parked at the radio station on Kansas Avenue in Lorain from 8:00 am until 7:00 p.m. this week.

The truck at the Second District police headquarters on Fulton Road in Cleveland will accept donations 24 hours a day.

Arroyo has done these types of collection drives before.  He made trips to help victims of Superstorm Sandy, the Oklahoma tornadoes and Hurricane Katrina.

**More on flooding here**

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