Community donates items to help Ralston Towers residents

Community gathering donations for Ralston Towers residents
Published: Jul. 9, 2017 at 8:18 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 10, 2017 at 9:28 PM EDT
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(Source: WTVM File)
(Source: WTVM File)
(Source: WTVM File)
(Source: WTVM File)
(Source: WTVM File)
(Source: WTVM File)
Charles Hart, second from left. (Source: Family)
Charles Hart, second from left. (Source: Family)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Many volunteer groups gathering items and donations for residents living in Ralston Towers, and now one man's family wants to do its part in making life easier by paying it forward.

A steady stream of goods like water, ice, and fans were dropped off this week by concerned citizens to residents living inside the Ralston Towers on 12th Street in Uptown Columbus.

This outpouring of support comes in the aftermath of 62-year-old Charles Hart's death on Thursday. Hart's family now teaming up with volunteers like Toyia Tucker and the local NAACP Youth Council to deliver food and other items to Charles' neighbors.

"Just little snacks, because they're down there. They're hot, and they don't have that, they're basically on a fixed income. They can't get all these snacks," said Toyia Tucker a NAACP Youth Council volunteer.

Hart's nephew, Kevin, will help Toyia set up donation centers, including one right in front of Columbus Corner Bakery.

"My family was talking about wanting to do something, so we met up with her, spoke with them yesterday, and it was like, let's jump in and help out," said Kevin Hart, Charles' Nephew.

Despite conflicting statements with the Hart family, volunteers, and Ralston's management team, Toyia and Kevin do say getting the HVAC system installed shows living conditions for residents can improve.

"It's not too late. It's bad something like this had to happen, but it's not too late," Kevin Hart, Charles' Nephew.

A list of top items to donate to the residents includes nonperishable foods and cooling towels for residents potentially still without air conditioning.

Moving forward, both Tucker and Hart hope something positive will come out of this controversy.

"Our voices coming together, and you all basically, continuously running this story, then yes, there will be some change. That's a historic building. You can't just say, 'Oh, yeah, we're just not going to do anything," said Toyia Tucker a NAACP Youth Council volunteer.

Ralston's owners have until Monday morning to meet the city's standards on heating, cooling, and other factors. If not, a statement released by codes and inspections reads the city will have no choice but to declare the building unsafe and prohibit inhabitation or resident entry.

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