Denison Fire Rescue crews will kick off a five-day food and supply drive on Friday in an effort to help three area food pantries preparing to take on the added needs of Hurricane Harvey victims who relocate to Grayson County.


The drive will last from Friday until Tuesday. Donors are encouraged to bring food items such as canned vegetables and meats, boxed dinners, rice and beans and toiletries, including toothpaste, soap, shampoo, diapers, hand sanitizer and laundry detergent. Items may be dropped off at the Denison fire station No. 3 on South Park Avenue between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day the drive is held. Donations benefit the Salvation Army of Grayson County, Helping Hands, and Masterkey Ministries.


“We sent six of our guys down to help with rescues after the hurricane,” Denison firefighter and paramedic Jason Handlang said. “That experience was really positive for them and made us think about how we could help out the people who lost their homes and are likely to come this way.”


Helping Hands Executive Director Tammie Overturf said her Denison food pantry has not yet assisted any victims of Hurricane Harvey, but she expects them to make their way toward Texoma as those displaced by past hurricanes Katrina and Rita did. Overturf added that many who have displaced by the flooding and damage, will likely come without proof of need, and though they will not be turned, it will add to the strain felt by food pantries.


“With something like this, there are a lot of people who just don’t have the documentation to show that they’re enrolled in (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or food stamps and you just have to have a grace period where you’ve got to take them on their word,” Overturf said. “So we want to have enough to help out the people that are already here and the folks from the hurricane.”


Overturf said while many in the community might take the requested items for granted, the food and supplies will help those affected by Harvey find some much-needed stability.


“I think it will just be a tremendous boost and a blessing for them,” Overturf said. “They’re starting over with absolutely nothing, so, hopefully, this will ease the burden and be one less thing or one less meal they have to worry about.”


Denison Fire Station No. 3 is located at 3306 South Park Avenue. For a full list of needed items and additional information, visit www.denisonfirefighters.com or call 903-744-3320.