When the town was devastated by Hurricane Fran and inundated by heavy flooding after Hurricane Floyd, relief supplies came from all over the state, and as far away as Tennessee.
While Southeastern North Carolina saw little damage from Hurricane Isabel, the storm was on the minds of many in Bladenboro, according to town manager Delane Jackson.
"If the storm had taken just a little different route," Jackson said, "we could have been the ones asking for assistance."
Gov. Mike Easley, through the League of Municipalities, requested towns to begin gathering hurricane relief supplies almost before the storm was over.
Jackson said the decision was reached Monday to collect relief supplies through the town hall and fire station in Bladenboro for shipment to last week's hurricane victims.
"We know how hard it can be," Jackson said, "and we want to help any way we can."
Due to the level of need in North Carolina's Outer Banks and northeastern counties, Jackson said, items will only be collected through Oct. 1. Volunteers will deliver the goods the next Saturday.
"We hope we can fill one van with supplies," Jackson said.
Jackson said students at Bladenboro Middle and Primary were to receive letters earlier this week to their parents, requesting donations.
Relief supplies can be brought to the schools in Bladenboro, where they will be picked up Oct. 1.
Bladen Schools Superintendent Byron Lawson offered to make sure students across the county receive similar letters, Jackson said.
"We obviously can't go to every school in the county to pick up relief supplies," Jackson said, "but if people are passing through Bladenboro and want to drop off something to help, they'll be more than welcome to do so."
Relief supplies can be dropped off at the town hall during regular business hours, Jackson said. The main fire station on W. Seaboard Street (N.C. 211 Business) will also be open from 6-9 p.m. nightly and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday to accept donations.
Cleaning supplies top the list of needed items, Jackson said. Mops, brooms, bleach, and cleaning solutions are highly sought.
Clothing is not being accepted at this time, according to the governor's office.
Needed supplies include
canned foods and snacks;
dry beverages such as coffee, tea and powdered fruit drinks;
cleaning supplies such as mops, brooms, and disinfectants;
baby supplies, including wipes, diapers, and formula; paper goods such as toilet paper and paper towels, along with plastic eating utensils;
bottled water; and
personal hygiene products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, and shampoo.
"We had a lot of help during our disasters," Jackson said, "and this is a good chance to return the favor."