State News

Jun 10, 2013 3:32 PM by Associated Press

Volunteers in West Still Organizing Donations

WEST, Texas (AP) - Two months after a fertilizer plant exploded in West, volunteers are still sorting through stacks of boxes and bags of donated items.

The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that volunteers have asked the victims of the April 17 explosion to fill out a form that allows them to process donations. Residents can then pick up what they need or have it delivered.

It's an effort to organize the thousands of items sent into West from across Texas and the United States in a way that benefits residents.

"People would literally go through, after we had it sorted, and would throw (clothing) on the ground because it wasn't their size," said John Simcik of the local Long Term Recovery Center. "I think we're beyond that."

The most-needed donations are related to cleanup and construction, Simcik said. He said things like brooms, bleach and trash bags are "like gold."

A lot of the goods are random items such as crutches, home decor knickknacks, backpacks and toys, the Tribune-Herald reported. Besides needing to be sorted, some of the items that have arrived are dirty or too worn to be used.

"Some of it looks like someone cleaned out their grandma's house and put it in a box," said Heather Ivie, a volunteer who has been helping for more than a week at the warehouse.

Officials hope to send what doesn't get used in West to disaster victims elsewhere, such as those affected by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.

Residents are still signing up for assistance and, in some cases, seeking federal aid for a long, arduous rebuilding effort. The blast at West Fertilizer killed 15 people, injured 200 and left many homes leveled in the tiny town of fewer than 3,000 people. Many residents are staying in mobile homes, with relatives or in rental units in West and in surrounding communities.

While hundreds of volunteers streamed into West immediately after the blast, relief effort organizers say they want to make sure they keep the attention of donors, volunteers and the public.

___

Information from: Waco Tribune-Herald, http://www.wacotrib.com

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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