GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Twenty-seven pallets of books, food, toiletries, clothes, school supplies and more are heading to Jackson, Gulf and Calhoun counties as residents there recover from Hurricane …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Twenty-seven pallets of books, food, toiletries, clothes, school supplies and more are heading to Jackson, Gulf and Calhoun counties as residents there recover from Hurricane Michael.
Members of the Clay County Education Association teachers’ union and the Clay County School District began collecting the goods Jackson County Education Association President Dave Galloway reached out locally.
CCEA President Renna Lee Paiva rallied teachers here and became determined to help those recovering from the Category 4 hurricane that made landfall on Oct. 10.
“I had a call from Dave Galloway of Jackson County, and he’s a union president up there, and I texted Mr. Davis and said ‘hey, do you want to partner with us and collect some goods?’ and Mr. Davis being how great he is, just put it out to everybody,” Paiva said. “Just a few weeks later, we had pallets and pallets of supplies ready to go out.”
Paiva said the supplies collection drive was reminiscent of last year’s relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which left more than 1,100 homes flooded in Clay County from Orange Park to Middleburg.
School Superintendent Addison Davis didn’t hesitate to answer Paiva’s call for help. He said that immediately he got to work asking community leaders, teachers, parents, students, principals and anyone else to donate supplies for Hurricane Michael relief.
“Originally, [Paiva] reached out to talk about what we can do for surrounding counties in need and you know, what a beautiful opportunity for us, Clay County, to band together and provide support to those in need,” Davis said. “We’re still to a point where everyone remembers what we endured with Irma and we’re still sensitive to the impact Irma had on our community, so we really truly understand what others may be going through.”
For Davis, he never doubted the community and its support in this situation.
“For us to band together, it just shows our unity and collaboration and our community’s awareness to reaching out, to extending our hands to others, and we’re proud of being able to have that opportunity,” Davis said.
Paiva said she expected to have enough supplies to fill at least a van, but on Nov. 6, it wasn’t a van that showed up to the Clay County School District Operations Warehouse, it was a Penske moving truck.
Originally, these supplies we’re just going to Jackson County, but after learning of the devastation in other counties near Jackson, Paiva decided to spread the supplies throughout the three different counties.
“Gulf County, I believe, lost an entire elementary school,” Paiva said. “They are really in need, just like Jackson and Calhoun...and I’m so proud of Clay County. We have stuff from the community, the union teachers, the non-union teachers, the parents and so many more. They really showed up.”
Paiva, Davis and Clay County aren’t alone in bringing 27 pallets of supplies to counties more than five hours away. They also received some help from The Teamsters Union. Kenneth Barringer, one of the Teamsters who will be driving the supplies to Gulf County, said that The Teamsters are a group of UPS drivers who use their time to drive supplies back and forth to areas in need. Nov. 6 marks more than three weeks of supply-driving time for him, but still today, doing what he does brings a smile to his face.
“This is some of the greatest, most humbling work I do,” Barringer said. “To see these people, to see their faces light up when you show up with these supplies, to see them cry, to shake their hand, to help people you’ve never met out...it is something I will never forget.”