Orange County residents stopped at Maple View Farm Ice Cream this weekend to drop off relief items, which were loaded into 26-foot U-Haul trucks and are heading to Florida and Texas next week.
The ice cream shop changed its plans to host the annual family fun day, and instead partnered with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Doug’s 24 Hour Towing & Recovery, to host a two-day relief drive for the communities afflicted by hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
“How can we celebrate when there’s so many people who are going to be without food or shelter?” said Allison Nichols-Clapper, store partner and manager.
The original plans for the fun day at the creamery included live music, face-painting and tents with educational activities about farming. The fun day event will be rescheduled, but Maple View has not set an official date yet.
The ice cream remained a constant this year, and donors got a free scoop for their good will.
Donations included diapers, cleaning supplies and hygiene items. The event also collected money which, along with the weekend profits, will go to the Salvation Army.
“It doesn’t matter if we collect one item or one dollar, because that’s something more than we have to help people with,” Nichols-Clapper said.
Shehzad Sheikh, UNC assistant professor of medicine, contributed with bottled water and dental supplies on Saturday.
“I think the community aspect is completely important," he said. "North Carolina has faced storms like these, so we sympathize.”
By Sunday afternoon, there were 8,000 bottles of water loaded on the truck, and boxes full of other goods filled the donation area.
Orange County Commissioner Earl McKee said he donated to the cause because of the severity of the natural disasters in Texas and Florida.
It's unknown exactly where the relief items will be sent to, but Doug Shambley, the owner of Doug’s 24 Hour Towing and Recovery, is optimistic law enforcement will make sure it falls into the right hands.
“We’ll all get together and we’ll figure out exactly where items are needed the most, and the best way to get them where they need to go,” Nichols-Clapper said. “The money is going to the Salvation Army because they take out less fees than any other organization.”
Although the creamery collected money after Hurricane Katrina and regularly hosts events that benefit local children's hospice causes, this is the first time they have hosted a disaster relief drive where the community came together to donate items.
The store will be taking donations until Monday, Sept. 18 at 9 p.m.
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