Donations for Mount Airy's flood- relief campaign for Alexandria, Mo., began pouring in yesterday as officials kicked off the fund-raiser at the Olde Town Restaurant on Main Street.
"I just have all the faith in the world that the good Christian people of Mount Airy will help out," said Dottie Gosnell, teary-eyed after collecting $675 in donations at the restaurant yesterday. "This town is about people loving people."
Concerned about the victims of the flood-ravaged Midwest, Mount Airy officials and residents have adopted Alexandria, a town of about 500 people at the confluence of the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers.
Mrs. Gosnell, who along with her sisters runs the Olde Town Restaurant, said the group hopes to raise about $100,000 for Alexandria.
Among the donors yesterday was American Legion Post 191 of Mount Airy.
Its members pledged $300 and hope "to do more," said Phil Dorsey, the post's first vice commander.
"We got this off the ground, so let's get going," Mrs. Gosnell said. "We'll accept whatever we can get. It's all about people helping people."
Mount Airy Mayor Gerald R. Johnson said that Alexandria is "completely under water" and its residents have lost everything.
He said that the Missouri town's mayor, Bob Davis, told him that many homes there will have to be torn down.
"People are going to be starting from scratch. We want to give them financial help," Mayor Johnson said.
"We'll send the money there once a week, and [the mayor of Alexandria] can decide where best to use it."
Donations may be sent to the Farmers & Mechanics National Bank, P.O. Box 37, Mount Airy 21771, or the Mount Airy Town Office, 2 Park Ave., Mount Airy 21771. Checks may be written out to Mount Airy Flood Relief for Alexandria.
Residents can drop off donations at the Olde Town Restaurant )) and other downtown businesses, Mrs. Gosnell said.
Mayor Johnson said he came across the town of Alexandria after talking with state and federal officials and church groups.
Initially, the Mount Airy group, made up of eight business leaders and residents, wanted to adopt a family.
It was Mrs. Gosnell who approached the mayor about helping the flood victims.
"I just couldn't sit here and do nothing," Mrs. Gosnell said. "I thought it would be great to adopt a family. But now we've done something bigger."
Mr. Johnson said the group hopes to have Mount Airy families adopt victims for Christmas. Later in the fund-raising campaign, canned goods and other supplies may be collected, he said.
"Right now they need the money more than anything else," Mrs. Gosnell said. "Later on we'll collect materials.
"There are lots of Mount Airys out there," she said. "Maybe something like this could take off across the nation."