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WNYers organize ‘750 Cases for Naples’ drive to provide relief after Irma

Three Western New Yorkers have been working tirelessly on a "750 Cases for Naples" drive to help provide relief to victims of Hurricane Irma.

Three Western New Yorkers have been working tirelessly on a “750 Cases for Naples” drive to help provide relief to victims of Hurricane Irma.

Mercedes Wilson of Tonawanda, David Bowes of Lockport, and Kati Edwards of North Tonawanda, have coordinated this drive from the ground up. They estimate it would take 750 cases of water to fill a 16-foot moving van of which Bowes will be driving to Naples, one of the hardest hits areas in Florida.

“We are accepting donations of water/Gatorade and non-perishable/ready-to-eat food items, and manual can openers,” said Edwards. “Our drive is running from today until noon on Thursday, Sept. 21. Thursday evening we are loading Dave up and sending him to Naples. Our donations will go to help low income towns like Immokalee, and East Naples, where many homes were demolished completely.”

But this isn’t the only effort Edwards has taken part in. A victim of Katrina, she’s been doing her part to help friends in Baton Rouge after they experienced massive flooding last year and more recently, Hurricane Harvey victims.

“My friends are still rebuilding and the others are still on the ground in Texas and Florida with the Cajun Navy. I knew I had to do better this time around,” she said.

Edwards volunteered her time to find shelters and charities for those looking to send in relief. Her biggest accomplishment was helping to find transportation for 100 donated CPAP machines from Tracy, MN to a suburb in Houston. Sleep donated the machines and Kottke Trucking donated their rig.

“It was a huge undertaking that involved a ton of networking, but we found a trucker and trucking company who not only donated the rig, fuel, and time to transport the CPAPs, but held their own drive to fill the rest of the rig. That truck leaves Minnesota today… on Friday the donations will be in Houston for distribution.”

Edwards outcries on Facebook led Wilson, who is also a WBBZ personality and founder of For Our Daughters Inc., to seek her out to organize the drive for Naples. WBBZ is also a drop-off location for the drive as well.

If you would like to make a donation for Naples, please do so by visiting one of the drop-off sites posted on the flyer. Edwards can also accept donations in North Tonawanda.

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