Knoxville woman organizing drive for Hurricane Matthew victims

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – One woman is on a mission to help Hurricane Matthew victims in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

In 2012, Leslie Silcox felt calling to help Hurricane Sandy victims. She collected donations in several areas across East Tennessee, rented a huge rental truck and drove them up to New York to help victims.

Now four years later, Silcox feels the same need to help. She pulled out the same hurricane relief sign, covering up the name “Sandy” with a makeshift “Matthew” made of construction paper and is collecting donations to drive to the coast. She is hoping to have enough supplies to fill one or two 26 foot Budget rental trucks in the next two days.

Friends help sort donations.
Friends help sort donations.

Budget Trucks drastically cut its rental costs for her efforts. “It’s a $550 truck and they’ve given it to me for $290…out the door, tax and all,” said Silcox.

Silcox and friends will distribute supplies first in Palmetto, South Carolina at an emergency relief shelter which gave her this list of needs. She said they really need shoes, socks, basic toiletries, infant diapers of all sizes, baby formula and baby clothes of all sizes.

The next stop will be the Old Savannah City Mission in Georgia where  they need cleaning supplies like bleach and laundry detergent. She said when she called the mission to tell them she wanted to help, the director of programs cried.

With help from her friends, Silcox plans to leave Sunday at 5:00 a.m.  There are several ways to help Silcox with her mission:

  • A fund was is set up at Budget Trucks, located at 8014 Kingston Pike for financial contributions
  • Donation drop-offs are located at both Campbell’s Pool and Spa locations, located at 231 Papermill Place Way in Knoxville and 830 US-321 in Lenoir City
  • There is a drop-off at Heritage Pizza, located at 1390 5th Street in Jellico
  • Fox Toyota has agreed to be a drop-off location Friday and Saturday during normal business hours.
  • LaFollette Court Assisted Living, 129 N. Massachusetts Avenue, will serve as a drop-off location and is donating items.
  • Food City in Maynardville, 4344 Maynardville Highway, will serve as as drop-off location.
  • Aurora Pools, 6521 Central Avenue Pike, is a drop-off locations.

Continuing coverage: Hurricane Matthew

Other ways to help

Red Cross

Volunteers with the Red Cross from East Tennessee are already helping those affected by the storm. They said while the storm has moved out much of their work is just beginning. For more information on volunteering contact the Red Cross at (865)584-2999.

Kroger is also partnering with the American Red Cross to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Matthew. All donations will be forwarded directly to the American Red Cross for disaster relief efforts. Customers can add any amount they wish to their total purchase at checkout time. The amount of the tax deductible donation will appear on the receipt as a contribution to the American Red Cross.

More: East Tenn. Red Cross volunteers head to Florida before Hurricane Matthew

Remote Area Medical

Remote Area Medical, the Knoxville-based group that brings doctors to rural locations, is deploying to South Carolina to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew’s devastating floods.

RAM will deploy medical volunteers over the next few weeks. medical professionals willing to deploy for 7-10 days are encouraged to register at

The group is also bringing a 53 foot trailer full of supplies. They need the following items:

Non-perishable food items

  • Dry rice and noodles
  • Pop-top canned goods
  • Dry cereal
  • Prepackaged snack items
  • Canned meat
  • Peanut butter
  • Dry milk
  • Bottled water

Paper items

  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper

Cleaning items

  • Disinfectant
  • Bleach
  • Mops Buckets
  • Plastic trash bags
  • Brooms
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic gloves
  • Sponges

Personal care items

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Deodorant
  • Bar soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wash cloths

Baby items

  • Baby food
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Formula

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