WASHINGTON — D.C. police cadets spent Friday morning loading trailers full of supplies to help with hurricane recovery efforts — a much bigger job than the police union imagined it would be when they started collecting a few days ago.
“We started a relief effort for Houston,” says Matt Mahl, the head of the D.C. police union, noting how several police officers in that area lost everything. “Houston has received a huge amount of support and an overwhelming amount of donations and items, [so] we decided we could break this up into two trips and help first responders in two different areas of the country.”
So late Friday morning, two of the four trailers in a parking lot near the D.C. Police Academy began the long drive to Texas, while two more trailers sat nearly full, with goods that’ll be going to Florida.
“Our contacts in Miami have already said they’re ready for us,” said Mahl. “They’ve got spots for us at their EMA and as soon as we can get there they’ll use whatever we can bring.”
Those trailers will leave Sunday morning. Between now and then, you can still donate supplies for recovery efforts there.
“What we’re looking for is personal hygiene products,” said Mahl. “We have a lot of water; we have a lot of hydrating liquids, so we have enough of that. But if you have the personal hygiene products — the soap, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, if you have extra sheets or clothes around the house — all of that’s going to be important.”
He says contractor-strength trash bags and work gloves are also in demand.
You can take your donations to local police stations, even if you don’t live in D.C. For instance, Mahl said, a lot of support has come from Bowie.
“I think they’ve filled up one of our trailers completely with the support of the community in Bowie, and the Bowie police and fire department,” Mahl said. “PG County has their own relief efforts going on, so maybe if police out in PG County can talk to their police departments, I know they have a relief effort happening as well.”
He’s hoping to have the next convoy of donations on the road to Florida by around 8 or 9 a.m. Sunday.