Coast collects thousands of items for tornado victims

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Coast residents showed their compassion for tornado victims by supporting a collection drive  in D'Iberville. Two Civitan Clubs are sending toiletries, non-perishable food and other items to Tuscaloosa. South Mississippi residents said they gave because they know exactly what people there are going through.

The collection drive was the chance Ivory and Megan Reinhert say they'd been waiting for. After days of watching television images of people whose lives have been turned up side down, the couple wanted to do something to help tornado victims.

"We were actually watching this as it was happening the other day and just felt an urge and a need just to be able to help these people," said Ivory Reinhert. "We weren't there to help on the scene but did what we can by coming out and donating today."

Diapers, toothpaste, water, the North Bay and Biloxi Edgewater Civitan Club loaded up all kinds of items they thought tornado victims in Tuscaloosa might need.

Ethel Smith of the Edgewater Civitans said, "I brought towels and washcloths, too. I figured those poor people could use anything that we brought. So let's just hope. We just pray for them and hope that they can recover as we did five, six years ago. It was hard, but with prayer, they'll get there."

Many of the people dropping off donations had their own disaster stories from Hurricane Katrina. They remembered the pain and devastation, and they say they haven't forgotten the many who came after the storm to help.

"Knowing we weren't alone," said Janet Hanson who had 18 inches of water in her Gautier home after Katrina. "Seeing vans from other areas with telephone numbers on it, church vans. I'd call them on the phone. Whoever answered, I'd thank them. It just perfect knowing you're not alone."

Civitans say they collected 2,300 items on Saturday. If you missed the drive it's not too late give. The Civitans are also collecting at the Smoothie King in Biloxi through Friday.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.