How do you spell relief? For Wanda Legore, it was just like spelling the name of her South Carroll County hometown, Winfield.
Searching for a way to focus her desire to aid victims of the terrible Midwest floods, Mrs. Legore found a namesake town of nearly 600 residents in Winfield, Mo., where more than half the town is under water from the swollen Mississippi River.
She phoned the town clerk in Missouri, found out what was most needed by the 200 homeless families there, and set up a local collection point for donations of cleaning supplies, canned goods and personal hygiene items at the Winfield Volunteer Fire Company, near Sykesville.
Mrs. Legore's reason for her philanthropic response was uncomplicated: "Just to help someone that you know needs help."
Alongside the massive relief efforts of government and large rescue organizations, lots of individuals are responding to deeply felt humanitarian impulses to help those who have lost everything to the river's rampage.
Four soldiers from Fort George G. Meade were so struck by the idea of lending a hand, they hopped a military transport for St. Louis. There, they will work with the Salvation Army on relief efforts and select a worthy recipient for the $1,000 they collected in last-minute local fund-raising. The Army electronics technicians will also get a list of families to help through future relief drives when they return to Anne Arundel County.
"We're trying to make an impact and show them that the Fort Meade family cares," explained Sgt. Joe Vano, who originated the scheme.
Over in Carroll County, Mount Airy restaurant owner Dorothy Gosnell wanted to find a flood-ravaged family for the town to adopt. Instead, Mayor Gerald Johnson found the submerged community of Alexandria, Mo., that needed aid. A fund-raising rally promptly yielded $700 and promises of further donations, mainly cash for immediate needs.
"I just couldn't sit here and do nothing," Mrs. Gosnell explained. "All you have to do is watch TV" to see the extent of need.
Added the restaurateur of the contagious spirit of altruism in our midst: "There are a lot of Mount Airys out there. It's amazing how fast people will get on their feet and help."