Columbia, MS (WLOX) - They are still cleaning-up storm debris in Columbia. It was one week ago that a tornado caused several deaths and brought widespread damage to that community. And since the tragedy, there has been an outpouring of donations and a steady stream of volunteers.
A week after the killer storm, there is still so much to clean-up. As neighbors help neighbors in this small town, they are also getting a welcome boost from countless volunteers. Among the groups providing help is Christian Aid Ministries, based in Berlin, Ohio.
"We come in and clean up whenever a disaster goes through. We have volunteers come in and in this case we have volunteers coming with the skid steers, cleaning up homes. And it's all done for free," said Kim Eichorn.
Visiting volunteers are also enjoying some Southern hospitality. Even though many businesses there are struggling, hotels are providing rooms for the volunteers and restaurants giving away meals.
"So they're really thankful that we came in and we're just blessed there to help. That's what the scripture says and that's what we want to do," said volunteer Larry Strite.
Folks in Columbia are not at all surprised the local community has pitched in to help those in need; that's part of the character and backbone of a small town in South Mississippi.
As for the outpouring of donations and labor from elsewhere, that's been a welcome relief.
"It is very overwhelming, the response that we've had from other states and other cities," said donations coordinator, Maggie Ingram. "For a little town that nobody knows about, it's very heart warming."
Hundreds of volunteers have come through Woodlawn Church in the past week, including a couple from Foley, Alabama. They drove here Christmas Eve night, spent the night in their truck, and then began helping storm victims first thing Christmas morning.
"I got off work one night and my wife told me they had a tornado here and we came down here to help," said Thomas Martin. "Sometimes we open our hearts and help each other out. Makes you feel better."
A good feeling for the volunteers and hope for storm victims, when recovery may seem overwhelming.