Tuscaloosa, Alabama Tornado
Our shower trailer and our supply trailer were packed with essentials for those in need after the devastating tornadoes that hit the state of Alabama and other southern states. Our team was ready to hit the road! We traveled through the night to arrive in Tuscaloosa late Wednesday May 4, 2011. The team rested up, and began the preparation of the shower trailer at the First Wesleyan Church of Tuscaloosa the next morning. Along with the preparation of the shower trailer, some of the team unpacked goods sent and donated from the hearts of people throughout Michigan! Some of the donations were personally given away to victims in need of a care package filled with soap, shampoo, tooth brush, toothpaste, towel and etc.
While in Tuscaloosa, Poured Out was able to provide assistance to the Newton Family which was an elderly family in the heart of the disaster. Our team provided the family with a case of clean water and care packages. The family couldn’t believe that our team was all the way from Michigan and had come to help their community so soon following the tornado. The two homeowners were raising a young grandson by the name of Hanson who was a huge help in the efforts of cleaning the yard, and it made the entire trip worth it to see his excitement because of the large trees that had fell in his sandbox were being cleared. After praying with the family, and a short little interview our team headed back to base camp to finish the final touches on the shower trailer, so that we could clean our smelly selves.
The final day of our team came too quickly! The trailer containing blankets, care packages, female care products, baby formula, diapers, water and most important love from Detroit was headed to a city that was completely wiped out. The supplies within the trailer were distributed in Hackleburg, AL. Hackleburg was a city of roughly 2000 citizens that was completely leveled by the EF5 tornado. Every house within the city reported to be effected by the tornado. Our team was able to unload the supplies at the FEMA distribution center that was set up in the heart of the city. Current and future marines lent a helping hand in the effort of unloading the trailer, and were able to lead our team to the volunteering station set up on the other side of town. The volunteer help in Hackleburg was being organized by VOED; which from what our team could see was the most organized site they had been on. There were people of all skills, backgrounds, and cities there for the same purpose.
After speaking with the volunteer coordinator about bringing teams to Hackleburg, she said “There has been an unbelievable amount of volunteers and help from surround cities in the county. It has been the largest collaboration of volunteers I have ever coordinated.” Our team was able to join in on the effort for a half of a day mostly running chainsaws, clearing debris, and assisting homeowners searching for personal items before starting our journey back to Michigan.