The International Aid communications director said the turnout for a pair of hygiene-packing events on Thursday drew more people then he could have ever imagined — so many that the organization had to turn away many who came to lend a hand.
Jenkins said 400 people helped pack 9,000 hygiene kits during a two-hour stretch Thursday morning. Later in the afternoon, another huge crowd turned out to help prepare kits for future emergencies.
“We had so many people come out to the hygiene packing event we had to turn them away. It was remarkable,” Jenkins said. “They worked so hard, they had everything we had packed in two hours.
“This is very unusual.”
Jenkins said the one-day record for hygiene kits is 25,000, but that was a day-long endeavor. To see 9,000 kits prepared in just two hours blew him away.
Those helping out ranged from senior citizens to young kids.
“It’s great for families that have young children because they can come pack kits and have a great time,” Jenkins said.
One of those who showed up in time to get in the door for the morning session was Gordon DeYoung. The retired Grand Haven Township resident said he read about International Aid’s efforts in the Tribune.
“I thought it was a good way for me to contribute since I had the time,” he said. “It was very organized. They said the turnout was two times what they expected for the morning. Everybody was working hard.”
International Aid has already shipped thousands of hygiene kits in response to the flooding in the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey. Much of what was prepared Thursday is to get ready for the next emergency.
Jenkins said International Aid works all year to keep supplies ready for disasters so they can be out the door within 24 hours of an event.