Hickory family collecting bottled water for West Virginia - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Hickory family collecting bottled water for West Virginia

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HICKORY, NC (WBTV) -

It started out with a few calls to some friends says Jennifer Rhodes. "My kids and I talked about it and decided to start to talking to people."  Within hours, the effort to collect a few bottles of water for people in West Virginia began to snowball.

"All of a sudden we had several businesses and a lot of people interested," said Rhodes. The water they collect, she hopes, will help at least some of the nearly 250,000 people in West Virginia who still are not allowed to drink or even touch the water coming out of their taps after a toxic chemical spill in the Elk River last week. 

Some people got the green light on Monday to resume using their water but most are still banned from the tap, for now.

"I can't imagine how tough that is," said one woman who showed up at E-Z Way Auto on Highway 321 to drop off a donation. 

The car lot is one of several businesses helping in the effort. "Bring in all you can," said E-Z Way's General Sales Manager Josh Wimbish. "If we don't have room for it all we will make room," he said. 

Early Thursday, a tractor trailer from the local Coca-Cola bottling company came to E-Z Way to help.

Since Monday, a mountain of cases and bottles of water have been brought in to the car lot. More than a dozen people showed up before dawn on Thursday to help stack the supplies and get them ready for shipment.

16 pallets filled with more than 7 tons of water and supplies were loaded up for the trip to West Virginia. Jennifer Rhodes said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of local folks.

"They showed what big hearts they have and makes me proud to live in Hickory," she said. The water and supplies were expected to get to West Virginia late in the afternoon with distribution to those who need it beginning immediately.

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