NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 28, 2013

Sending help to Oklahoma

Locals gather donations for tornado victims

By Mac Cerullo
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — In the wake of last week’s devastating tornado that destroyed an entire community in Oklahoma, local residents are organizing an effort to send donations to those who’ve lost everything.

Ashley Osborne and Ross McLane will be collecting donations at their homes over the next few weeks that will subsequently be shipped to Oklahoma.

Osborne said she was moved by the incredible outpouring of support that Boston received after the marathon bombings last month; and when she heard about the devastation in Oklahoma, she felt compelled to return the support.

“When things like this happen and people feel helpless, you need to do something,” Osborne said. “After how much help has been raised for the marathon bombing, we need to give back.”

The most needed items right now are bottled water and Gatorade for the first responders, as well as gift cards, diapers, baby formula, all types of clothing and nonperishable food items. Any kind of donation will be accepted as long as it’s something you’d use yourself.

“We’re not going to send, or even accept, any dirty or worn-out items,” McLane said in a post on the group’s Facebook page. “Only bring items that you would accept if the roles were reversed, after all we’re trying to send our love down to Oklahoma, not our junk.”

Osborne said she has connected with a trucking company that will ship the goods free of charge, since they will be heading out that way.

“I worked in logistics in the past, so I made some calls to some local shipping companies and from contacting some people I know,” Osborne said. “I got some trucks that are willing to throw a couple of pallets of stuff on them, and they go out to Oklahoma every week.”

Osborne said she’s connected with several people who live in Oklahoma who have put her in touch with various churches and charities that are collecting donations. One of them said that there’s already been such an outpouring of support for Moore that they’ve run out of space to store the donations, although some neighboring communities were damaged, too, and could use help right away.

Donations can be dropped off during the next couple of weeks at Osborne’s house at 31/2 Boardman St. in Amesbury or at McLane’s house at 24 South Pleasant St. in Merrimac. In addition to donations, Osborne said any local businesses that can contribute pallets would be appreciated too, as would volunteers who could help prepare the donations for the trucks.

“I have to get them put on pallets and Saran-wrapped and ready to go on the trucks, so anyone who wants to help out with that would be great too,” she said.

For more information, residents can visit the Donations for Oklahoma Tornado Victims Facebook page.