Donations for McDougald Terrace pour in as residents cope with life in hotels

Many Triangle residents are taking action as the housing crisis linked to carbon monoxide detected at McDougald Terrace continues.

Saturday, McDougald Terrace residents told to leave their homes and move into motels said they are feeling stressed at an information session.

"Just Saturday, I know there was at least 700 people at Burton Elementary school," said Ashley Canady, a McDougald Terrace resident who's leading efforts to organize assistance for her neighbors.

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Local restaurateurs, like Leonardo Williams of Zweli's restaurant, have been trying to help residents.

"Emotions are intensified right now. And I don't see anything wrong with that." Williams said. "Imagine being displaced from your home!"

Conditions at the hotels are not ideal, according to people living there who spoke out during the meeting and their advocates. Hundreds of the displaced are coping with rooms where they don't have access to the comforts of home, including food that helps them navigate health challenges or easy access to transportation.

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The Salvation Army's Durham office said their shelves are full of food donations for displaced residents, but many of the people in hotels cannot eat food high in sodium and are unable to take the donations.

The Salvation Army said they need low-sodium food donations, drinks like Ensure that provide nourishment for elderly people and non=perishable vegetarian meals for those who have plant based diets while they await permission to return to their homes.
Advocates said diapers, wipes and hygiene products are also appreciated as hundreds of people of various ages cope with disruptions in their daily routines.

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But despite the generosity of some donors with good intentions, Canady said, "We don't need any more clothes at the moment. We are at capacity with clothes! "

Williams said shampoo donations--both large bottles and travel-sized bottles--could help the displaced.

He and others working to help the McDougald Terrace residents are preparing to move the donations they received at the Salvation Army to the site of the former University Ford dealership in downtown Durham near American Tobacco. It will open soon but until then, if you are doing a donation drive, collect the items but please hold them and send an email to McDougaldTerraceMeals@gmail.com.

RELATED | Read all of our stories about McDougald Terrace here.
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