Alabama residents are all too familiar with the aftermath of a tornado after enduring the deadly Tuscaloosa tornadoes last April. Multiple tornadoes tore through several suburbs in the Birmingham, Clay, Chalkville and Pinson areas, Monday, Jan. 23, around 4 a.m. According to www.al.com,the funnel was 500 yards wide and either damaged or completely destroyed over 300 homes. Roughly 100 people were injured and two were confirmed dead after the storm passed through, the website said.
Helping to aid the recent tornado victims in Alabama and Texas, Gleaning for the World, which works with Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC), sent down over 200,000 pounds of water, food, and blankets to the victims of the recent tornadoes, according to founder and president Ron Davidson.
“Last Saturday night, we got a call from Westridge Church in Dallas, GA, saying they had a need for many supplies, as weather was starting to turn cold. Overnight, we were able to load up a tractor trailer up full of blankets and things, and it arrived by the time their Sunday service ended,” Davidson said.
Rather than hitting a specific path, these recent tornadoes were not concentrated and bounced over 25 different locations, which made distribution of supplies especially difficult.
Residents have already started rushing to help out those affected, either by raising awareness or sharing necessities. Stephanie Creech, a sophomore at Liberty University, mentioned how she grew up in Clay and that everyone she knew growing up has been affected by it.
“Thankfully, they are all okay as far as I know, but the damage is unbelievable. Some of the people I know have damaged homes or neighborhoods that are completely wiped out but only their house remains,” Creech said. She was reminded of an elderly couple that she went to church with who had to be rescued from their home in the recent storm.
“I have grown up my whole life dealing with tornadoes, so it’s strange to have a tornado of this magnitude hit in January. It was pretty close to the same type of storm that hit in Tuscaloosa last April,” Creech said.
One of the hardest things for her and her family, according to Creech, is seeing an old hometown be destroyed within minutes, and knowing people who are close to you are having to endure that.
Community members stepped up to help out others less fortunate. Local and state-wide residents have been donating to help those who have nothing left, according to Creech.
Megan Clayton, also a Liberty student, remembers the fear that tornadoes bring. Although she was at school during this last storm, she remembers what it was like after the Tuscaloosa tornadoes.
“In any tornado, damage is always very severe. When the tornadoes hit in April, gas and food were scarce and curfews were set because fights would break out at night in convenience stores,” Clayton said. “Videos were awful to watch. It changed many lives in multiple ways−for good and bad.”
More than 4,200 volunteers have signed up to help with the tornado recovery effort in the Clay area, since Jan. 30, according to www.al.com. The recovery process will be extensive and tedious, but those who have been affected have been offered free, faith-based counseling sessions to help them get back on their feet.