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A local group is collecting paper goods, diapers, soap, cleaning supplies, canned food, toiletries and other items for victims of Hurricane Florence in Eastern North Carolina. The collection site at old Food Lion parking lot across from the new Publix is open until 5:30 p.m. today.


Bruce Hatfield, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, organized the drive when he heard about the damage in Bladen County, about 40 miles east of Wilmington. Hours of collection are 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

"Over the course of the hurricane, we received photos, e mails, and other correspondence from family and friends living in Bladen County," said Hatfield, whose wife, Diane, grew up in Carvers Creek, in Bladen County. "People, who lived in Kelly, where the Black River runs, were forced to evacuate, only to return to find their homes destroyed by the flood. Farmers throughout the county lost everything — corn, soybeans, peanuts, cotton, tobacco, hogs, chickens and more. It’s all gone, homes, cars, trucks, pets, everything. The people in Bladen County need your help."

Hatfield on Monday night asked the Henderson County Board of Commissioners during its regular meeting for any help they could give in publicity. Commissioners endorsed County Manager Steve Wyatt's idea to publicize the effort on the county's website and social media pages.

When he made an appeal for a central collection point, the owner offered the old Food Lion parking lot across from the new Publix. Hatfield is also asking for volunteers to drive delivery vehicles.

"We need transportation services — trucks, vans, trailers — that will make the approximate five- to six-hour drive to Bladen County to drop off the relief items," he said.

Residents of Brookdale assisted living facility donated $700 cash. Hatfield also suggests donations of gift cards to Lowe's or Home Depot.

Suggested items to donate include paper goods, washcloths, feminine hygiene products, plates, cups, bowls, towels, bleach, wipes,
paper towels, baby supplies, cleaning supplies, paper shop towels, baby formula, baby diapers wipes, plastic flatware, toilet paper, Band-Aids, insect repellent, disposable razors, shaving cream, hand soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant bar soap, mouthwash, chap-stick, sun screen, trash bags, gallon freezer storage bags, liquid soap, mops, brooms, brushes, canned food, can openers, toys, utility knives, pry bars, nail pullers, rubber gloves.

Hatfield thanked Teresa Edwards and the CEdwards Group for their support. For more information contact Hatfield at 828-329-4971 or email