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Representatives from various agencies meet to discuss and address needs following last week’s tornado. Pictured from left are Rockford Baptist Church Pastor Dr. Jeff Fuller, a representative with Alabama EMA, Coosa County EMA Director Sheldon Hutcherson, and Sheriff Michael Howell. Photo submitted by Janice Kilgore
Manna Ministry, an outreach of Rockford Baptist Church, works to get meals together to provide food for the storm victims. Photo submitted by Janice Kilgore
Multiple agencies came together to visit the storm-damaged areas of Coosa County and determine the biggest needs for the area, working together to help those impacted by the tornado and storms. Photo by Rep. Ben Robbins
Agencies and others work on cleanup efforts while the power companies work to make repairs and restore power. Photo by Rep. Ben Robbins
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
Multiple agencies and individuals have come together over the last week to help those in the storm-impacted areas of Coosa County.
The areas most heavily impacted were in southern Coosa County, especially the communities of Equality, Nixburg, Rehobeth, and Speed. County roads 18, 14 and 304, also known as Gilbert Lane, seemed to have suffered the most damage.
While the damage experienced from the storms was devastating, in the midst of the aftermath neighbors and others came together to help those in their time of need. From hot meals to clothing and other donations, as well as cleaning up fallen trees and storm debris, there was no hesitation from Coosa County’s citizens or agencies in immediately reaching out to assist those impacted by the tornado.
Hundreds of volunteers have been involved in various activities of assistance since last Thursday, and they continue to provide assistance today.
Informational sessions were held last Saturday and Sunday evenings at Rockford Baptist Church with a focus on identifying the feeding needs of those affected by the storms, as well as the volunteers and workers in the area.
Tina Fuller set up the feeding operations at Rockford Baptist Church, and Donna Brown set up the operations for the Rehobeth center. Manna Ministry, an outreach of Rockford Baptist Church, provided food, including multiple meals for storm victims and volunteers alike.
These Rockford and Rehobeth centers had numerous people assisting with preparation, delivery and donations. They provided meals, sandwiches, soups, snacks, drinks, and other refreshments for the residents and volunteers in the hardest hit areas.
As well as food preparation and distribution, they also collected personal hygiene items, blankets, jackets, totes, buckets, cat food, dog food, and more for distribution. They also received donated food and supplies for their operations.
Dr. Jeff Fuller, pastor of Rockford Baptist Church, said that at the Rockford church they served more than 600 meals and had more than 500 volunteer hours served. They shared personal hygiene items and donations of clothing with BridgeWays.
They also had four Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief teams from various locations around the state in the area to assist, with another team coming today.
“By coordinating together, they were able to reduce duplication and make sure all areas were covered,” said Janice Kilgore, a volunteer who attended the informational sessions at Rockford Baptist Church. “They, along with all the volunteers, have been working tirelessly to identify and meet the needs of those affected by the tornado. There are too many to name, but I observed that the sense of community and helping others was in full force.”
The communities greatly appreciate all the assistance provided from various individuals and agencies, as well as all of the numerous volunteers who gave their time to help following the aftermath of the storms.
There are multiple avenues of additional assistance, including the “Lawyers Care” program to offer free legal advice for storm victims. That program can be reached at 334-262-4974.
There is also a Home Cleanup Hotline for Central Alabama thanks to Crisis Cleanup. That hotline is open to help survivors of the tornadoes and anticipates that most volunteer groups will work through Friday, January 27.
The Crisis Cleanup group will help connect individuals with volunteers from local relief organizations, community groups and faith communities who may be able to assist with cutting fallen trees; drywall, flooring and appliance removal; tarping roofs; and mold mitigation.
Those needing assistance can call the Home Cleanup Hotline at 334-209-3003.
See additional articles in this week’s edition relating to other sources of assistance and information relating to the tornado itself.