Patrice's Blog: Peanut butter crackers that feed the soul

CULLMON, AL (WLOX) - Friday morning, I woke up to the royal wedding on television. While I was happy for Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton broadcasting their love to the world, I could not shake the fact that hundreds of people are now dead as a result of Mother Nature's fury.

Friday's travel was to the city of Cullman, Alabama. For some reason, I thought that this city was not going to be as bad as the others I had already visited. I was wrong!

When weekend anchor Terrance Friday and I arrived to the city, we were welcomed by dark, damaged buildings. The twister knocked power out in the city. You could also see thousands of bricks littering the ground.

You may wonder why I would concentrate on the bricks, but if you saw the thousands of bricks everywhere, you would be amazed. There were so many broken bricks it was hard to see the sidewalk.

A lot of this damage had fallen from the First Baptist Church's huge building in the downtown area. I found several members at the mega-church working to seal the broken windows on every floor of the building. The minister of music told me the historic church was the center for worship in the town, and the damage was a setback.

After chatting with these heartbroken church members, I walked a few blocks down and there were a dozen neighborhoods where homes were just obliterated and others flattened. Folks around town told me that at least two twisters touched down in the city, and I really thought there were more tornadoes that hit this area. The scene was just unbelievable.

For a second, I just stood in the middle of the street feeling sorry for these people, and thinking that I could not do anything to help change this situation.

Then a group of kids walked up to me with a plastic bag. One child, who was sweating from walking around town, said, "Excuse me. Do you want some crackers?"

He pulled the pack of peanut butter crackers out of his bag and held them up as high as he could to reach my hand. While I was not hungry, and turned down the food, I walked away full from the love and compassion that was just shown to me. I felt that these kids looked past the destruction to help me and those in need.

Friday's journey taught me that even if everything around you looks bad, there is always room to lend a helping hand, because there are a lot of tornado victims suffering.

Editor's Note: Patrice Clark, Terrance Friday, as well as photojournalists Eric Lewis and Bobby Allen are in Alabama helping cover the storm aftermath for WLOX News and our Raycom Media sister stations across the country.

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