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Chamber collects clothing for S.C. fire victims

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

SHALLOTTE—Hours after sending out an e-mail to collect clothing for fire victims in South Carolina, Cathy Altman was greeted with a surprise last Friday morning.

“People were here this morning,” said Altman, president of the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce.

When chamber employees opened the door, bagfuls of assorted clothes in all sizes and shapes were “just pouring in.”

By lunchtime, Altman had filled her car with bags to carry a first load to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for distribution by the American Red Cross.

The outpouring of donations was in response to last week’s wildfires that swept more than 19,000 acres in Horry County, S.C., last week, destroying about 70 homes and damaging nearly 100.

Altman sent out an e-mail to chamber members late last Thursday afternoon, April 23.

“Many, many families have lost everything in this tragic fire in the North Myrtle Beach/Myrtle Beach area,” Altman wrote. “Our good friends at the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce are collecting clothing that will be distributed through the Red Cross. Let’s help our neighbors to the south and collect clothing of all sizes for ladies, men, and children and bring to our office at 4948 Main Street, Shallotte.”

Altman requested the clothing be bagged and wrote she would transport the items.

Some people, she said, were bringing new clothes.

Hatteras Embroidery and Apparel of Ocean Isle Beach, for example, donated new T-shirts for men, women and children.

Altman expected to deliver one load last week, probably followed by at least one more this week.

Chamber members also offered the use of trucks and trailers to cart the loads across the state line.

“Our community has stepped up to help our neighbors to the south who are in such need,” Altman said.

She said they hope to continue collecting items until there’s no longer a need among families affected by the fires.

“We need to keep them in our thoughts and prayers on a daily basis,” Altman said.