Lunch time at Long Beach High turned into a giant shopping spree Wednesday. Students lined-up, then loaded-up on all sorts of free stuff, like sports watches and Olympic flip-flops to bags filled with school supplies. All the donations came from our neighbors in Alabama.
"Katrina tore up everybody's houses. So we're here as part of the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Campaign. People in Alabama want to help the people in Mississippi," said Tony Dickie, the program's liaison.
One surprise sent a lot of hearts racing. Talledega International Raceway donated thousands of Nascar t-shirts, pajamas and jump suits.
One young man smiled and said, "It's like my birthday."
Another amazed student said, "My God. Oh my God!"
"I think it's really amazing that people want to help us this much. It really. I don't know. It's really touching to know that people really do care," said senior Ashleigh Kellogg.
The caring volunteers included cheerleaders from Spanish Fort High School and people like Harriet Parrish. She lost her home in Alabama, yet still had time to cross the border to help Mississippians.
"You know they're struggling. You know it's still devastated over here. It gives you a chance to see them and help them, and you're doing something to lift their spirits," said Parrish.
That spirit of friendship between neighbors is certainly something the students won't ever forget. The Neighbors Helping Neighbors Campaign donated about $2 million worth of clothing and supplies. The volunteers also delivered the donations to schools in Biloxi, Gulfport and D'Iberville.