Local man seeks donated supplies to aid victims of Florence

A Martin County businessman is heading to North Carolina next week to
bring much-needed supplies to aid hurricane victims.

“I just wanted to send something from Florida with love,” says Casey
Cass, who owns Casco Tools of Stuart. “This is becoming a community
effort, and I am proud of the response.”

He posted a notice on his Facebook page the day that Florence slammed
into the Carolina coast, announcing his intention to use his trucks to
deliver supplies and to seek donations from local residents.

He was a little taken aback at the immediate, heartfelt response,
likely because so many of us know what it’s like to live with a
hurricane’s aftermath – damaged homes, no electricity for days or
weeks, and depleted store shelves – and that’s without the flooding
that is now Florence’s legacy.

The widespread destruction of homes, buildings, and businesses under
the onslaught of mud and water will decimate incomes and lives, and
the numbers will be staggering, but all the statistics will come
later. First comes the clean up and day-to-day survival with no power
and few resources.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Guard, the Red
Cross, military reservists, and the Salvation Army all have been
mobilized as part of the hurricane relief response, yet there are
always pockets of underserved communities in dire need.

Asked why he decided to launch his own relief effort, Cass replied,
“Because I know what it’s like to be hungry and hopeless.”

Indeed, the help that comes the fastest often comes first from
individuals, from friends, neighbors, families and churches, which is
why Cass decided to work directly with community churches in the
hardest hit areas. Then he discovered that the roads to those churches
are impassable.

He was directed to Duke University’s disaster relief effort, “Doing
Good in the Neighborhood,” which brings together alumni and friends
from Durham and throughout North Carolina to assist the cleanup and
rebuilding in and around Wilmington and New Bern. The university
president, Nick Price, put out a call for much-needed resources.

“The most immediate need is for resources,” Price said in a news
release. “… Since our founding, Duke has been committed to uplifting
our region. Thank you for doing what you can to support that mission
as our neighbors recover from this devastating storm.”

Cass and his crew have already started answering that call by
collecting the resources Duke has requested.

“We plan on leaving here next Tuesday,” Cass said, “so we have a
little time to collect more supplies.”

The items most requested include hand sanitizer, paper towels, toilet
paper, masks, bottled water, diapers, baby wipes, formula and baby
food; canned food, flashlights, batteries, pet food, can openers,
first aid kits, toiletries, razors, cleaning supplies, including
rubber gloves, buckets, mops, bleach, scrub brushes, sponges, scouring
pads, soap, large garbage bags, and bug repellent. Tarps also are
needed, as many homes lost portions of their roofs.

Price also is asking that people send school supplies, since nearly
everything in flooded homes is destroyed. School will resume in a few
weeks, but children will no longer have the tools they need for

Donated items may be dropped off at Casco Tools of Stuart, 4786
Railway Ave. in Port Salerno, across the railroad tracks from the Port
Salerno Post Office in the former NAPA building. Someone will be
present to take donations every day until Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 9
a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

“If someone needs a pickup, they can call me at 772-631-1505 to
arrange,” Cass added. “We can also stay later at the store, if
needed.” Just call.

Cass has a long-standing reputation in Martin County as someone who
can be counted on to support a good cause, from wearing pink jackets
to dancing on a public stage raising money for infants and mothers, so
coming to the aid of hurricane victims comes naturally to him.

“I feel if I am able to help someone in need,” he says, “I always
will.” He also knows he can count on his community to make it