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Tallahassee family collects donations for victims of Hurricane Laura

Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 17:48:06-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — In the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, while many still worry about flash flooding and possible tornadoes, one Big Bend area family is collecting donations to take to survivors of Hurricane Laura.

A U-Haul sits in the Derzypolski's front yard, inviting people in the community to load it with supplies the people in Louisiana are most in need of, like food, water, and sanitizing wipes.

"It means the world to me because people are in need," said Nancy Merrick, who donated to the Derzypolski's cause. "I wanted to help and I wouldn't have had a way to get it to anybody if these people didn't have their U-Haul trailer."

Merrick is one of many people to stop by, leaving items inside the trailer parked in the Derzypolski family driveway.

"There's just a real need to help people," Merrick said. "The Lord put it on my heart to go buy this stuff and bring it."

Merrick is no stranger to hurricanes.

"We had Michael," said Merrick. "I'm originally from south Florida."

She says she understands what Louisianans are dealing with right now.

"You don't know what you need until you don't have it," Merrick said. "I tried to think of the things I needed the most. Being outside, you might need mosquito spray or wipes because you don't have water or the water is contaminated."

The Derzypolski family and Merrick are just one example of the Big Bend's impact.

Local Red Cross volunteer Randolph Barkley hit the road Friday morning, ready for his second stop in Louisiana.

"Back in 2005, back with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, I spent quite a bit of time," said Barkley. "This is the second one."

As some travel to heed the calls for help, the Red Cross is making it easy for people to help without ever leaving their home city with just a couple of ounces of blood.

"Because of COVID, because of Hurricane Laura, because of the California wildfires, we've lost so many blood drives," said Sharon Tyler with the Red Cross. "That's thousands of blood units lost."

The Red Cross is hosting another blood drive next month.

The U-Haul is parked on Trescott Drive in the Betton Hills neighborhood. It will be there until Monday.