The last time Michelle Busick organized a hurricane relief effort, she was living less than 200 miles away from the victims.
Although she now lives in Spokane, some 2,500 miles from a coast ravaged by two powerful storms, Busick once again is leading an effort to help hurricane victims.
For about two weeks, Busick has been collecting supplies that will be picked up Sunday by the Convoy of Hope. The nonprofit organization based in Missouri distributes needed supplies to victims of disasters around the globe.
Busick said people and businesses have been supportive, donating time, trucks and supplies to the effort. One anonymous person gave 36,000 pounds of bottled water, enough to fill a semitruck trailer.
“They know that their beans or their cereal or their powdered milk or whatever is going into somebody’s hands, not being lost in red tape,” Busick said.
The supplies from Spokane likely will be shipped to a Convoy of Hope distribution center in Hammond, La, said Jeff Nene, a Convoy spokesman. From Hammond, supplies will be taken to where ever they are needed in Texas, Louisiana or Mississippi, to drive-through food and supply banks.
Busick, who moved to Spokane in 2003, was living in Sumter, S.C., in 1996 when she led an effort to fill a truck with needed items for people affected by Hurricane Fran in Wilmington, N.C.
Also since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, three Spokane sisters who collected supplies and drove them to the South returned this week.
Hurricane Rita forced the three to take refuge at a motel in Natchitoches, La., for three days, said Angela Geiss, one of the sisters. The three reached their destination, a church in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Sunday. Half the supplies will stay there. The other half will be delivered to a church in Belle Chasse, La.
“It was so much more fulfilling to get there and deliver and see who it was going to and see that they really did need it,” Geiss said.