Red Cross, Oconee sheriff, rock band, and UGA students all helping Harvey victims

The American Red Cross of Northeast Georgia has sent eight people to Hurricane Harvey stricken states.


The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is collecting food and supplies, and a rock band is playing a benefit concert Saturday night in downtown Athens for victims of the storm that dumped about 50 inches of rain on parts of Texas and also tormented Louisiana.

These relief efforts along with those planned by student groups at the University of Georgia are underway to help those stranded and left without homes in flooded areas of Texas and Louisiana.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced Wednesday he has sent a large contingent of manpower to Texas and took measures to ensure fuel for those carrying hurricane relief. In addition, he has arranged to have 75 Georgians ready to deploy for search and rescue efforts.

The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations as it provides more immediate help, Northeast Georgia Red Cross Executive Director Laura Allen said Wednesday.

Their efforts are currently focused on sheltering and feeding people as it is the most urgent need, Allen said.

Working with the Red Cross, a food and supplies drive will be held at UGA’s Center for Leadership & Service in the Tate Student Center starting Thursday and continuing through Sept. 15, according to a news release. Sought after donations include nonperishable, non-canned food items and toiletries.

Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry said his office reached out to LAD Trucking in Watkinsville with assistance from Power Building Supplies to have a load of donated supplies shipped to Texas. The truck will be placed in the Oconee County Jail parking lot on Thursday morning for people to drop off donations.

“We want to deliver some essential supplies to maybe some of the more neglected areas there. We’ve reached out to Oconee County to fill up a tractor-trailer load,” Berry said.

The sheriff’s office is seeking donations of food, water and other items for Harvey victims. See the Oconee County sheriff’s Facebook page to learn more.

The sheriff also said he has a contingent of deputies ready to provide manpower to the area if needed.

“We’ll let them call us and we’ll go when they call,” he said.

The Georgia Sheriff’s Association has been in touch with the Texas Sheriff’s Association in regards to manpower assistance, GSA Executive Director Terry Norris said.

“We’re trying to identify what sheriff’s offices will be able to send folks for a law enforcement mission. They have not asked for any specific help yet,” Norris said. “I can assure you, before it is over, they will need some help.”

Christian rock band Verily, composed of David Ray Bridger from Athens, and four others from Atlanta, is planning a benefit concert Saturday night at the 40 Watt Club in Athens.

“We’ve had this show planned for a while. I was watching the news coverage and I felt the Lord pull me and say do something,” Bridger said. “I called the venue and talked to the other bands and said, ‘Let’s find a way to get the message out about what this is for.’ We want to give the money to a charity and we’re leaning toward the Red Cross.”

“It’s not a big platform, but because we’re headlining it at a really good venue in Athens, I want to do something,” he said.

Also performing is Bull Moose and Second Hand Band. The music starts about 9:30 p.m.