SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - As soon as reports of the devastating tornadoes in North Mississippi started pouring in, people here on the Coast jumped into action. Several communities banded together to gather supplies for the victims.
"We're going up for as long as we're needed," said Ernie Zimmerman.
For Zimmerman and Stephen Brettel, helping was the only option. The devastation in the northern part of the state reminded the two of something the Coast experienced almost nine years ago; Hurricane Katrina.
"There were a lot of people who we didn't know came down here and helped us. So I think for us it's a commitment to our community, it's a commitment to our state, it's a commitment to people that need help," said Brettel.
Zimmerman and Brettel started an effort to gather food supplies in hopes of feeding first responders in Tupelo, Louisville and other tornado damaged areas. The word quickly spread through social media and email, and people started answering the call by delivering donations to Scafidi's Restaurant in Bay Saint Louis.
The efforts didn't stop in Bay St. Louis, the city of Gulfport was also on board. Public Information Officer Chris Vignes said ever since the city starting asking for donations via Facebook and Twitter, the supplies have been coming in nonstop.
"You know, it's kind of paying it forward. We're all together a community and we're all working together to really help one another out, and of course, you know, we've had a lot of help and we look forward to helping those that are in need," said Vignes.
Vignes, Mayor Billy Hewes and other city officials headed to the northern part of the state early Wednesday morning to do whatever they could to help. As for ongoing donations, Scafidi's Restaurant will still be accepting whatever people can bring them such as food, monetary donations and other supplies, throughout the rest of the week.