It didn’t take long for Ellen and Dennis Wood to fill up the back of their pickup truck with supplies to take to the Oso mudslide volunteers.
Chips, baked goods, bottled water, oranges and protein bars were packed into the Bremerton couple’s truck on March 31. The pair took the day to ferry over and drive up to the mudslide site.
“Anybody can donate money. We decided to go get a bunch of stuff to bring it up to the volunteers and workers,” said Ellen Wood. “There were so many volunteers there.”
The slide occurred along State Route 530 on March 22 and since then has claimed the lives of more than 30 people. The area was declared as a disaster site by President Obama on April 2.
Shortly after the mudslide, Ellen heard from a friend who wanted to help and was making baked goods to be sent to the site. That’s when the Woods decided that they should be the ones to personally deliver the items to those working around the clock.
She asked everyone she knew to donate food items for delivery. Even though she and her husband couldn’t physically help, she knew that workers and volunteers still need to be fed.
Dennis Wood is also on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on-call list so he can help at a moment’s notice to relieve other workers.
They brought the supplies as far as they could. As far as possible meant the red brick Oso Fire Department. While they never saw the damage, the couple knew enough from the images on TV what was beyond the blockades and just around the bend.
It took longer to load the car than it did for volunteers to unload it because of the sheer volume and organization of the departments, Ellen Wood said.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “It was so well orchestrated.”
Several organizations have created ways for locals to donate. The Salvation Army, Red Cross, United Way and others are accepting monetary donations to assist those impacted by the mudslide.