Those affected in East Bernstadt said they have had an outpouring of support from across the region. More than 200 volunteers came to feed, clothe and help victims.
Pastor Norm Brock of the First Baptist Church of East Bernstadt said individuals, churches businesses and even other shelters have come together to do whatever they could to provide relief for tornado victims.
“People that I have never met before today came to help in whatever way they could, they would show up smiling and say, I am here to help,” said Brock.
Food, clothes, toiletries and basic necessities were provided, many by complete strangers, to victims of an EF2 tornado in Laurel County where five people died.
“Look around these people are giving their time, their money, and their clothes, bringing it in to a central location, just to help people,” said Ward Stokes, Asst. Chief of the London/Laurel Co. Rescue Squad and church member.
Those who survived said they were lucky to get out with their lives. Volunteers organized clothes, boxed and bagged food and basic items so those who weathered the storm can do their best to move forward.
“It kind of reaffirms that people are still good out there, it makes you feel good,” said Stokes.
Darlene Abner’s daughter lives in the community that was hit the hardest. She said they were glad her life was spared after five of her friends’ lives were taken. Abner said she would have volunteered to help anyway.
“We was very devastated and I just love how everybody came here to help and how organized everything is,” said Abner.
Pastor Brock said he was astonished at how fast the donations and volunteers poured in.
“To see people coming together to help people who are hurting, who have lost everything, it is overwhelming emotionally, it's overwhelming spiritually, it's just a great feeling to see a community support each other this way,” said Brock.
Brock said there have been so many donations in a 6-hour period that they may not be able to use them all so they are going to hold off on accepting donations in order to assess what they have and what they need. Brock said it is likely they will provide help to some other hard hit areas.
The donation center will be set up for at least one week. Brock said fter that they will evaluate what they are going to do to help the families long term.