Support Grows for Refinery Victims

People from several churches gathered at Connor's Temple Baptist Church to pray for the victims and their families.
People from several churches gathered at Connor's Temple Baptist Church to pray for the victims and their families.

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Nearly three weeks after the deadly refinery explosion at Imperial Sugar in Port Wentworth, support is still pouring in to help the victims and their families.

On Wednesday afternoon, people from several churches gathered at Connor's Temple Baptist Church to pray for the victims and their families. People at the First Baptist Church of Richmond Hill have sewn prayer quilts for the burn victims. Gerald Schantz held a barbecue, raising more than $27,000 to help families.

Coastal Empire and Low Country residents have rolled up their sleeves to donate blood at a rate nearly double what blood centers usually see. They've even given money while they were shopping at supermarkets like Piggly Wiggly, by donating at the cash register.

Gregg Schroeder with the United Way of the Coastal Empire said people and businesses have raised more than $600,000 to help the sugar refinery victims and their families.

"I've never seen a response with this much outpouring of support," he said. "Quite honestly, typically we have to go out and ask people. This time, it's just the other way around. People are coming to us with ideas, with contributions, with offers to help in any way they can."

Monetary support is not all they'll need. Licensed practical nurse Anita Daniel with the Florida Georgia Blood Alliance said blood donations will be especially needed in the coming weeks as the burn victims and their families face a long road ahead.

"There are a lot of burn victims and they need platelets," said Daniel. "The blood that we collect here, tonight, will go towards that for them. They're in constant need of blood supply, always."

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com