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Supplies collected locally bound for Oklahoma
Funeral home, hospital join for tornado relief effort
Lauren McDonald goes through items that will be sent to tornado victims in Oklahoma. - photo by Crystal Ledford

A local funeral home recently teamed up with Northside Hospital-Forsyth to help families impacted by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.

Lauren McDonald, owner of McDonald Family Funeral Homes in Cumming and Dahlonega, said the first truckload of items will be delivered Monday.

McDonald said the drive effort took place in Forsyth and Lumpkin counties, with each community donating numerous items such as non-perishable food, bottled water and clothing.

“We put boxes around with our relief effort logo on them,” McDonald said. “The hospital had a lot, a lot of businesses put them out down here and in Dahlonega.”

In Cumming, Northside Hospital-Forsyth worked with McDonald on the drive.

“Jessica Nesmith, an employee in the emergency room, organized our drive there and a lot of [the donations] came from their employees and doctors who stepped up to the plate.”

Locally, he said, the drive garnered “878 bottles of water, 120 bottles of Powerade, four cases of power bars … 360 packs of crackers.”

Other items collected included boxes of flashlights and batteries, cleaning supplies, diapers, clothing and New Testament Bibles.

“That was all [collected] here in Cumming and we’ve got about the same up in Dahlonega that people have donated,” he said.

McDonald said the drive is on hold at the moment until the truck returns next week, with volunteers having a chance to evaluate what items continue to be needed.

But he noted that anyone can call the funeral home at (770) 886-9899 to set up a time to drop off donations.

McDonald said he’s always impressed by the generosity of the local community, even when it comes to helping people thousands of miles away.

“We all tend to step up to the plate and support our own community, but a lot of us know somebody who was impacted by these tragic events,” he said. “We just have a very giving heart in Forsyth County and people just always step up to the plate.”