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Western New Yorkers rally to aid storm victims

Pioneer PRO, a student service group based at Pioneer High School in Yorkshire, is sponsoring a fund-raiser for hurricane survivors. The group will collect returnable cans and bottles, and the money raised from redeeming them will be sent to the American Red Cross.

Kathy Morris, club adviser, said an account has been set up for the group at the Can & Bottle Return Center, Route 16, Delevan.

At the end of the drive Oct. 14, a check will be sent to the Red Cross for hurricane and flood relief. Collection bins also will be placed at Pioneer High School on County Line Road.

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Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds' district office in Williamsville is teaming with the Food Bank of Western New York for a two-day hurricane relief drive to collect canned food, bottled water, toiletries and other items for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Donations will be accepted from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Tuesday at his office at 500 Essjay Road, Suite 260, Amherst.

Since Sept. 2, the Food Bank has sent eight tractor-trailers with nearly 200,000 pounds of food, water, toiletries and baby items to the affected areas.

The Food Bank still is accepting product and cash donations for victims and can be reached at 852-1309 or through the Web site www.foodbankwny.org.

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Money to help the dogs, cats and other animals displaced by Hurricane Katrina is being raised by Pet Supplies "Plus," a nationwide pet store chain with three stores in Erie County.

Donation canisters will be placed in participating stores, with all money collected going directly to Best Friends Katrina Animal Relief Fund, a Utah-based nonprofit organization. The chain's management and employees also are contributing to the relief effort.

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A rented van, donated by Hertz and Jim Culligan Pontiac-GMC-Volvo-Suzuki, left Buffalo on Saturday morning loaded with supplies for animal rescuers, according to SPCA spokeswoman Gina Browning.

It was stocked with collapsible wire crates, hand sanitizer, insect repellent, batteries, flashlights and sunblock.

The van will stay in Louisiana 10 weeks and work out of a temporary animal shelter in Gonzales, La., about 60 miles northwest of New Orleans. Two local SPCA staffers will help for a week before they return home and are replaced by two other local staffers.

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Nearly 100 motorcyclists showed up for services Sunday at True Bethel Baptist Church and made a $1,500 donation to the church's relief efforts in the Gulf Coast.

Guest speaker was Bishop Gregory Davis, director of field operations for Full Gospel Baptist Church, whose headquarters office in New Orleans was destroyed by the hurricane. He told the congregation that the tragedy was an opportunity for people to come together.

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