Operation Southern Hospitality ends with volunteer effort

(John Gaddy/WCIV)

By Stacy

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Operation Southern Hospitality ended Thursday.

"Thank you so much to everyone for helping out!" said Cheryl Daniels, a New Jersey native who now lives in the Lowcountry.

Daniels said she is from Belmar, N.J., and her family still lives{}there.

"A lot of people lost their homes. It's been really hard to have to stay here and not be there. So this is my little way to help out," she said.{}

Daniels was among the many volunteers who lent a hand Thursday{}with Operation Southern Hospitality. They also unloaded a truck from the ABC News 4 station{}collection.

For many of the volunteers, it was a way to give back.

"Toms River, N.J. as an example, literally came down here after (Hurricane) Hugo and helped our small town of McClellanville to recover," said Cathy Haynes of{}Charleston County Emergency Management.{}"So we're just paying it forward."

Volunteers formed an efficient assembly line. They unloaded everything from the trucks and{}then{}took them to a station to be sorted into categories like food, baby needs and{}cleaning supplies. Eventually, all the supplies got put into the boxes to be shipped by train to New Jersey.

"They got the first shipment in yesterday morning. It's neat because some of the boxes have, 'From Charleston. We love you!' so they know it's coming from the Lowcountry. Some of those folks are in tears," organizer Steve Priola said.

He said the Lowcountry is the only area to organize a local project to help.

"They are amazed," he said.{}

"I tell my friends and family I love them very much and hang in there," Daniels said.

Officials expected to fill two 53-foot trailers. CSX trains will pick them up early Friday morning.

Charleston County officials said they committed to mutual aid; they will send personnel up north if needed.