By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As the death toll rises from Florence, Marylanders are helping in the Carolinas.

Keonta Houchens and Lystra Ali loaded up a flatbed trailer and headed south on Sunday.

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The Baltimore small business owners are bringing toilet paper, water, baby wipes and snacks.

How To Help Those Impacted By Hurricane Florence

“We’re trying to help the people in the Carolinas who are suffering from the storm,” Houchens told WJZ.

He prepared the trailer for the journey on Edison Highway Sunday morning.

Houchens said Home Depot in Lansdowne donated a pallet of water, and his group plans to coordinate with churches in the disaster area to distribute items where they’re needed most.

“We’re all three paychecks away from being homeless. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life so you just want to show compassion across the board,” Ali said. “We would hope that someone would do the same for us if it hit us.”

Maryland’s National Guard Deploys To Florence For Search, Rescue In Floods

Lystra Ali said she did not have any ties to North or South Carolina, but that is not stopping her from trying to help. “If you’re not giving from your heart, it’s senseless to give. It may seem small, but to people who need it it’s major.”

They’re far from the only ones helping. Local first responders are also in the Carolinas, including rescue techs from Howard, Montgomery and Harford Counties.

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The Maryland Army National Guard is sending two Blackhawk helicopters as part of a team that departed Sunday.

A team from Maryland’s National Guard is on the ground in North Carolina to assist in ongoing disaster relief efforts there as well.

“The National Guard knows no boundaries,” said Major Cody Starken, from a disaster center in Butner, NC. “We’re going to stay as long as they need us,”

The team includes first responders from Howard, Harford and Baltimore counties.

Nine members of the Howard County Swift Water Rescue Team are also in the Carolinas where more than 1,000 people have had to be brought to safety in the wake of Florence.

There are also a number of dogs that rescue organizations have brought to Maryland from the disaster

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue helped evacuate nearly 60 dogs and cats from Florence County, South Carolina and Hertford, North Carolina before the hurricane hit.

Mirah Horowitz, Lucky Dog’s executive director, said South Carolina shelters saw people surrender their pets ahead of the storm.

Help Rescue Or Foster Animals Displaced By Florence

“I think what happens is, people are evacuating and they simply don’t know what to do with their animals so they take them to the local shelters on the hope that they will be better off there,” she said.

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