IN 2005, HURRICANE KATRINA'S LANDFALL ON THE SOUTHERN COAST OF THE UNITED STATES AFFECTED PEOPLE ACROSS THE COUNTRY. WHEN SUBARU SOUTH CENTRAL REGION ADMINISTRATION MANAGER CATHY RUMENAP HEARD ABOUT KATRINA SURVIVORS TAKING REFUGE IN HER AREA OF GEORGIA, SHE CONTACTED SWEETWATER CAMP TO SEE HOW SHE COULD HELP.
Subaru volunteers began by collecting and donating needed personal items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant. "We thought that this was important because it is right in our community, and we were helping people right in the same community where a lot of people live and work. It just made an impact on them," explained Cathy.
Through her involvement, Cathy learned that Sweetwater had a clothing shelter, food pantry, and more. With a core group of at least five Subaru employees, Cathy volunteers once a month by sorting donated canned goods. "We started every month going over and sending some volunteers to work in the food pantry because we felt that is where we could make an impact and where we could do something," revealed Cathy. The food pantry provided approximately 1,000 families with food orders in November.
The Subaru volunteers have been recognized by Sweetwater and were nominated for a group recognition award through the Cobb County United Way. Darlene Duke, executive director for Sweetwater CAMP (Community Action Mission Program) noted that Subaru employees were not only coming to Sweetwater and working, but they had the spirit of promotion by letting people know that "this is not just a little donation. This can really make a difference – and a significant one."
Sweetwater Valley CAMP has been providing outreach programs for the Clarkdale, Austell, Mableton, and Powder Springs communities for more than 40 years. The group is a coalition of local churches, businesses, and civic groups that have the mission of uniting the community by assisting neighbors in need. Approximately 200 volunteers help with the food pantry, clothing closet, emergency financial assistance program, and special programs such as Easter baskets, Christmas toys, and newborn layettes.
For more information on this organization, go to www.svcamp.org.