Special Photo Matt McCawley loads donated items into a UHaul trailer that he and his family are taking to victims of Hurricane Sandy this week.
SUWANEE -- With plans to travel to visit family in New Jersey for Thanksgiving, Kim McCawley figured she couldn't go empty-handed.
With help from the North Gwinnett Lacrosse Association, McCawley, a Suwanee resident, and her family will travel with a loaded-to-brim 12-foot trailer to New Jersey today with supplies for Hurricane Sandy victims. They plan to stay until Nov. 25. McCawley is a New Jersey native, and she has three siblings who live in Lavallette, N.J., which is in the middle of some of the hardest hit areas from the storm.
McCawley has also received donations from people at North Gwinnett Middle School in Sugar Hill and Minor Elementary in Lilburn, where she is a teacher.
"Everybody in the community has pulled together to help with this effort," McCawley said. "We just couldn't go empty handed. It hit close to home."
McCawley said a U-Haul trailer from Pete's Tire of Sugar Hill was rented at a discounted rate, and an SUV or large truck from Mall of Georgia Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep in Buford will carry the supplies. McCawley coordinated with the dealership owners Craig Cappy and Jason Joel and sales managers Shane Reese and Ted Sykes, who she said have gone "above and beyond" to ensure the use of the vehicle.
About 250 familes in the NGLA, the North Gwinnett Dirt Dogs softball team and other contributors gave warm clothes, blankets, toiletries, diapers, baby food, gift certificates, cleaning supplies and dog food. McCawley said the outpouring of support has been "amazing" since the first email was sent two weeks ago.
The donations filled the trailer so full that McCawley said she would have to sort through the items to fit as much as possible. About 80 percent of the donations came from an open house on Saturday at George Pierce Park.
Because her brother works for the city of Lavallette's Public Works Department, McCawley said she hopes the city would let them hand out items. If not, the family will deliver goods to the neighboring cities, and possibly contact the Red Cross.
"From what I understand we're not going to have a problem," she said.
Because of the space limitations, McCawley said gift cards are best for those interested in contributing. Send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate a donation.