Operation Charley Rescue Response Better Than Expected

While people here are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Frances, people in Florida are still cleaning up from Charley's wrath. Some local electric cooperatives from the Coastal Empire and Low Country have stepped in and their customers are getting involved with Operation Charley Rescue.

One by one, hundreds of boxes of hurricane relief items are being loaded into a huge truck. "We did not expect it to grow into what it has grown into, but we are absolutely ecstatic that it has," said Anne Cordeiro with Coastal Electric Cooperative.

Coastal Electric, Canoochee EMC, and Palmetto Electric teamed up to help victims of Hurricane Charley. They expected a response, but nothing like this.

"It's not just about being out of power, it's about losing your home, your job, schools being destroyed," said Cordeiro.

Boxes were set up at each cooperative's location, and communities all over the Coastal Empire and Low Country took an immediate interest. "They brought in cans, towels, they even had dog food, school supplies," said Joe Sikes with Canoochee EMC.

"We even had someone that created a drop-off point for us," Cordeiro added.

"We know we're always vulnerable to a hurricane and we certainly would appreciate this response if we were affected," said Jimmy Baker with Palmetto Electric.

The cooperatives are driving the trucks down to Florida and the plan is to make a second trip with more supplies next week if Hurricane Frances doesn't interfere.

"All of our crews have been put on standby," noted Cordeiro.

So as these donations are sent off, prayers are once again started that another collection doesn't have to start anytime soon.

School supplies are still being collected at locations around the Coastal Empire and Low Country. They will all be picked up on Friday. Check here for information.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com