CRANBERRY, PA. — A truck from Pittsburgh hauling essential supplies is on its way to Lake Charles, Louisiana. That area was hit by two hurricanes, Laura and Delta, in the last seven weeks. Thousands of people are still cleaning up from damage caused by high winds and storm surges. The Pennsylvania Lions Clubs, made up of 18,000 members across the state, loaded up supplies in an eighteen-wheeler truck Thursday night.
“Our organizations' motto is ‘we serve.’ When the folks in Louisiana said they needed our help, we just immediately jumped right in,” said Lions District Gov. Jason Long.
Long oversees the Lions Club in Washington, Green, Fayette and Somerset counties. Lions Club International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas worldwide. On the western side of Pennsylvania, there are about 7,000 Lions members.
Lions Pennsylvania’s multi-district service coordinator, Thomas Gregg, said the organization was contacted by the Louisiana chapter, which needed help getting supplies for their hurricane recovery efforts. Gregg put the call out to the members in the state who delivered.
“We gave them the time frame, and today was the day we’ll pick up,” said Gregg. “We’ve picked up at three different locations in Pennsylvania. The first was in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, the state office building in Harrisburg. And then from here in Cranberry.”
The nearly 700 clubs across the commonwealth gathered paper towels, toilet tissue, work gloves, toothbrushes, flashlights, brooms, mops and big-ticket items, like shop vacs and generators.
From box trucks to packed vans, members from Erie to Green County met in the Cranberry Lowe’s parking lot to load up the tractor trailer.
“We’re probably in a neighborhood of 400 or 500 boxes, plus bigger items that won’t fit in a box like mops, brooms, that sort of thing,” said Gregg.
Amy Tompkins is a Lions Club member from Westmoreland County. She and her husband drove two packed vehicles.
“I couldn’t imagine the devastation they’re going through,” said Tompkins. “I just thank God every day that I can wake up and I’m in my home. And I don’t know how they’re doing it.”
Bill Morgan, a district governor from Armstrong, Butler, Beaver, Clarion and Lawrence counties, said his members wanted to buy the big-ticket items after hearing from a member in Louisiana that they can’t get generators or shop vacs.
“We don’t get a lot of disasters,” said Morgan. “Not like Louisiana and some of the places down south. And this just feels so good to be able to do this. Everybody should get back to the community. Whether it’s through church, through Lions Club or Rotary. We’re all community based. We’re here to help our communities, to help the world at large.”
Their actions are making us Proud to be from Pittsburgh.
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