Lowcountry officials on Wednesday expressed gratitude for national aid that followed Hurricane Hugo, and asked area residents to return the favor by extending a helping hand to victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Want to help?

Residents can drop off donations at fire stations in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms and Awendaw.Other drop-off locations include:North Charleston: Charleston County’s Lonnie Hamilton III Public Services Building, 4045 Bridge View DriveMount Pleasant: Charleston County’s East Cooper Service Center, 1189 Sweetgrass Basket Parkway, Suite 300Ravenel: Charleston County’s St. Paul’s Service Center, 5926 Highway 165For more information, go to www.coastalcommunity foundation.org/sandy

A new effort, dubbed “Charleston Cares: Sandy Relief program,” aims to collect supplies and money to benefit towns and cities devastated by the storm.

Officials from across Charleston County gathered Wednesday in front of Piggly Wiggly at the Ashley Landing Shopping Center to rally support for the program.

“Not only was the help (after Hugo) so important, but it lifted our spirits,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said.

County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor said the Lowcountry is “happy to return the favor we received after Hugo.”

“It’s them today and it may be us tomorrow,” Pryor said.

Riley said he spoke with officials from the White House, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and several state mayors as authorities discussed what the Northeast needed to get back on its feet.

“We have been hearing from our area residents who ask what they can do to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy on our northeastern coast,” Riley said. “Those of us here know that the time is now when supplies are going to become critical. No stores are open in areas where power is lacking and emergency supplies are running out.”

Donated supplies will be shipped Friday and Nov. 16 to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact in New Jersey for distribution, a release states.

A Piggly Wiggly representative kicked off the initiative by presenting a check for $2,500 to the Coastal Community Foundation Fund.

Residents are encouraged to donate non-perishable food, diapers, baby wipes, paper towels and bathroom tissue, bandages, batteries, flashlights, bottled water and juices, soap, hand sanitizer, tools, shovels, work gloves, hand saws, garbage bags and cleaning supplies.

The program is not collecting clothes, the release states.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908.