HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - They are the backbone of the ongoing post-storm cleanup across the Pine Belt. Volunteers are dispatched daily from places like the Volunteer Recovery Center on South Tipton Street in Hattiesburg.
Hundreds of people are donating their time and muscle for the labor-intensive task of raking limbs and leaves, piling debris and cutting large trees with chain saws.
Thursday morning, a team of 20 or so volunteers did that work on Elizabeth Street in Hattiesburg. There's so much tree damage in this area that the volunteers had to walk the last few blocks just to reach their assigned homes.
"I'm doing it because I care about my community," said one young woman from Holmes County.
Now a student at USM, when she's not in class, you'll find her volunteering with the cleanup.
Another woman, who now lives in Atlanta, says her heart is still in Hattiesburg. This is her hometown and she's back to lend a hand to those who are hurting.
Volunteers we spoke with encourage everyone to sign up, even if it's just a few hours a week. Even a little bit, they say, can help make a difference in what is an enormous cleanup task.
Along with time, financial donations are also needed to help keep the recovery going. Hancock Bank presented a $10,000 check this morning to the United Way, which will use the funds to support the ongoing disaster relief.