SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - People around the coast are pitching in to help with recovery efforts in Hattiesburg in the aftermath of Saturday's deadly storms. Groups from Gulfport to Pascagoula are collecting donations to take to our neighbors to the north.
Dustine Lalas with 95.3 the Gorilla radio station said as soon as she heard about the devastation caused by the Hattiesburg tornado, she knew she wanted to help.
"I sent a text to our program director, and I said, 'Ryan, you know, it'd be a really great idea, if we could get some donations together, or hold a fundraiser,'" Lalas said.
She then called grocery stores in the area to ask if they could park the radio station's truck in the parking lot to collect donations. Managers at the Neighborhood Walmart on Pass Rd. in Gulfport agreed.
Dustin Ewing, who also works for the station, said, "The lady that she talked to actually met us here this morning, and she came up, told us we were having a good cause and thanked us for coming."
Ewing said he's glad to help with the collection, which includes clothes, shoes, games, food, diapers, and water.
"I feel like we're working for a good cause people are wanting to come out and help support," Ewing said.
In Pascagoula, the Rev. Andy Collette with Eastlawn United Methodist said his church is collecting specific items that are needed.
"We received a list from a church up in the Hattiesburg area, and they asked for pet food, they asked for can openers, for non-perishable food, for flashlights, and for baby temporary items like sanitary wipes, diapers, and inserts for bottles," Collette said.
That group will head to Hattiesburg with their donations Thursday morning. Lalas said she's working with the Salvation Army to find the best place to bring theirs.
"We've got lots and lots of clothes and shoes and it's just amazing, the outpouring of love is just so great," Lalas said.
The Rev. Collette said his church will likely also help with the long-term recovery efforts in Hattiesburg through the United Methodist Committee on Relief.