Groups gather aid for West

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Several drives continue throughout weekend to help community recover

Denton has responded significantly to help those left homeless by Wednesday’s devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, according to several groups that are collecting money and supplies.

A group from the Denton County Republican Party delivered a truckload of supplies Friday to a drop-off site in nearby Waco, said Dianne Edmondson, chairwoman for the party.

It was one of numerous charity relief efforts that started less than a day after an explosion that killed at least a dozen people and destroyed homes for blocks.

“This is Texas, and Texans are generous people,” Edmondson said. “When one Texan is hurt, we’re all hurt.”

That party’s effort began Thursday, so there was little time to publicize it, she said. But through outreach on social media, the group collected a large amount of goods. It also collected about $1,000 in cash during the party’s monthly meeting Thursday night, she said.

The party has also established a website that had raised more than $2,500 by Friday morning, she said.

Gene Cole, general manager for the Jim McNatt Auto Group, said the dealerships in Denton, Sanger and Gainesville also continue to collect canned goods.

One load was delivered to a well-organized collection site in West about noon Friday, Cole said. The dealership will deliver more as they collect a full load, he said.

“We have a contact down there. We didn’t want to just show up because sometimes when you do that, you do more harm than good,” he said. “We will call them before we go; they’ll know exactly what we have and make sure they have the personnel to help unload it.”

Cole said since the dealerships began collecting nonperishable food and other goods Thursday, it has received many calls both from businesses and individuals. Many planned to drop off goods today, he said.

At the University of North Texas, the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity started a drive yesterday to collect food and other necessities. That quickly became a project of the entire Greek community at the university, said Danny Avila, an executive member of Phi Gamma Delta. All the fraternities and sororities got involved, he said.

The group left Friday afternoon with two truckloads and a trailer full of goods they had collected, including more than 60 cases of bottled water, pet food, toiletries and much more.

“This was an amazing testament to what Greek life is all about at UNT,” he said.

MATTHEW ZABEL can be reached at 940-566-6884 and via Twitter at @zabeldrc.


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