Volunteers with a suburban group are collecting and organizing donations, from food and water, to cleaning supplies and clothing, to send to people dealing with catastrophic, and deadly flooding in the Southeast.
Starfish Animal Rescue has been transporting dogs and cats from high-kill shelters in Kentucky to secure, non-kill establishments in the Chicago area for eight years. They partner with multiple regional rescues, shelters and advocacy organizations to rehome the animals.
Now, volunteers are temporarily shifting their focus from pets to people.
"The main thing the animals need is food. We’ve got a lot that’s been donated. But, we’ve got to take care of people that have lost absolutely everything," said volunteer, Ken Young.
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"In another week or two, we’ll probably be inundated with dogs. I hope that we get inundated with them because that means they survived, so that would be ok," said Young.
The donations are stored at an industrial facility in west suburban Geneva. Volunteers pack sprinter vans that then transport several shipments a week. On Saturday, they expect another arrival of animals in need of foster care.
"Probably every other day we’ll have another van full of supplies that people donated. It’s incredible," said Young.
His wife, Debbie, also volunteers with the organization. She says the most needed items right now are snow shovels, rubber boots, tents, cleaning supplies and portable showers.
"Think about it – if your house was washed away, what’s your first need? I need to drink, something to eat, something to help clean up," said Debbie Young.
"There are still hundreds of people missing. People have lost absolutely everything. It takes a village. We need to help each other."
Donations will benefit flooding victims in Breathitt, Perry, Knott, and Letcher counties.