May 11, 2011 Edition

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Flood relief efforts
continue in LawCo.



Dr. Rebecca Edwards (right) and Mickey Ryan of 103.9 The Game discuss items that were donated during a flood relief drive at Main Street Family Dental in Walnut Ridge on Friday.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt
Gretchen Hunt
Editor

The Red Cross shelter in Walnut Ridge closed on Saturday, but many still need help and Lawrence County residents and businesses are continuing to assist victims of recent flooding.

Dr. Rebecca Edwards of Main Street Family Dental Clinic in Walnut Ridge partnered with 103.9 The Game on Friday to hold a flood relief supply drive.

By the end of the day, the sidewalk in front of Dr. Edwards' office on West Main Street was lined with cleaning supplies and other items.

Edwards said the response from the community was amazing, with both individuals and other businesses contributing to the effort.

Items collected were to be distributed to flood victims in Lawrence and Randolph counties, and money collected was donated to the Red Cross to be used for local relief efforts.

That giving spirit was evident at Sonic in Walnut Ridge, as well, where carhops collected tips on Friday and Saturday to benefit flood victims.

Sonic owners Terry and Sherry Burnside and their employees began the drive with a goal to raise $500 for Craig and Angee Jones and family of Old Walnut Ridge, whose home was flooded.

Instead, donations kept rolling in until $1,007 was collected in a day and a half, and two more families received assistance, as well.

"This community is awesome," Sherry said. "We had a goal to reach $500. When we got there, I said maybe we can get to $1,000."

Sonic also helped by providing breakfast several days while the Walnut Ridge Community Center was being used as a shelter.

While the shelter is now closed, volunteers are still working to help in other ways.

A food distribution was held on earlier this week at the center with food from the Northeast Arkansas Food Bank.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Don House and other volunteers picked up the food, and volunteers were on hand to distribute the items. Approximately 50 households received food through the distribution.

Another distributions is set for today from 3-6 p.m. for residents of Lawrence or Randolph counties affected by the flooding. Cleaning kits will also be distributed this afternoon if they are available.

"We have had a mountain of volunteers who have helped out," House said.

After today's distribution, demand will determine if assistance is continued. House said anyone who cannot attend today or who has a continued need can contact the Walnut Ridge City Hall.

Lawrence County also participated in the Red Cross Bucket Brigade as part of a phone-a-thon to raise money for both flood relief efforts and other Red Cross assistance provided in Northeast Arkansas throughout the year.

Veronica Manning coordinated efforts in Walnut Ridge, where volunteers collected donations at the intersection of Main Street and Highway 34.

Nearly $4,000 was collected locally, with more than $70,000 raised throughout the 12-county area.

"It was an outstanding response from volunteers and those who gave, especially considering the short notice," Manning said.

In addition to organized relief efforts, Sherri Sparks of the Lawrence County Office of Emergency Management said this disaster has again proven that the residents of the county care about each other.

"When it comes down to it, neighbors always help each other," Sparks said of the residents of the county.

"They will drop what they are doing to assist. The people of Lawrence County don't hesitate to help others."

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