Cullman Elks headed to North Carolina to feed residents, first responders in wake of Hurricane Florence

Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune

Front row: Jackie Ridgeway, Karri Willis Ridgeway, Patrick James and Bobby McDowell; back row: Dale Ball and Lynn Jones (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN – The Cullman Elks Disaster Relief Team and cooking crew headed out for Beulaville, North Carolina Saturday afternoon to feed residents and first responders in wake of Hurricane Florence. Cullman Elks Lynn Jones, Kerri Willis Ridgeway, Jackie Ridgeway, Patrick James and President of the Alabama Elks, Bobby McDowell, are expected to arrive in the rural area of North Carolina around midnight. Pathway Church has become a relief center in the area that services four counties and their first responders.

The Cullman Elks team will coordinate with the Raleigh, North Carolina Elks Disaster Relief Team Sunday morning, allowing the church’s congregation to participate in church services after a hard week of exhaustive work. The Cullman Elks are loaded with 180 lbs. of pulled pork, 2,000 bags of chips, 1,000 hot dogs and a truck bed of bottled water. They will prepare lunch Sunday and Monday for the church and the residents around Beulaville. They will also assist the Raleigh team in preparing a Sunday night dinner of baked ziti, potatoes, green beans and macaroni and cheese.

The Cullman team first planned to go to the civic center 7 miles from the church, but it is currently under water. Beulaville is currently under a flood warning as the water has yet to crest in that area. All major roads are closed, so the Elks team will communicate with the Department of Transportation upon arrival for help navigating the back roads to reach its destination. 

Cullman Elks Lodge President Dale Ball said, “Two important mottos the Elks follow (are) ‘Elks Care, Elks Share’ and ‘Building Stronger Communities Together.’ We have packed enough to feed 1,000 people per meal. We will continue to help the victims of Hurricane Florence by collecting donations to fill the trailer outside. We need help from the community to fill the truck.”

Donations still needed

While the Elks headed out today to cook, they are still collecting donations to fill the 18-wheeler at the Cullman Elks Lodge. The truck will depart for North Carolina when it is full.  After speaking with those in Beulaville, the Elks have an updated list of known urgent needs: 

  • Clean T-shirts
  • Feminine products 
  • Baby supplies- diapers, wipes, formula 
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo)
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Toilet paper

Cullman Dairy Queen locations will take your donations and deliver them to the Elks Lodge. Dairy Queen will also give customers free ice cream cones for donating. Linda Sandlin, director of Bright Beginnings Daycare, has spearheaded a drive to collect needed baby items. Happy Time Daycare and First Baptist preschool have joined in her efforts. 

The Cullman Elks Lodge is located at 1525 Brantley Ave. NW.

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