At the beginning of March IRC had an opportunity to respond to a tornado disaster that had hit Columbus, MS., effecting 537 families and destroyed some of the oldest parts of town. Where once beautiful oak trees spread across neighborhoods that were filed with life and community, a tragedy struck with little warning. We arrived on Sunday night to prepare for cutting trees on Monday morning, the plan was to stay in our disaster relief trailer but the night before we arrived the forecast showed it was to be 20 degrees at night and all our hoses would’ve been frozen up. Scrambling to find a place, we ran across “The Big Red Barn” listed on Airbnb. The place was beautiful and perfect. Monday morning came bright and early, we went to the disaster shelter for volunteers and sat down with Miss Renee. She had us sign a few forms, took our information, and gave us a badge to get into the zoned off areas. She assigned a man named Charles to go with us, to talk to the people that had no insurance or had no way to pay for any services rendered, which was perfect because that’s who we came to help.
First we were to cut Mr. Jeffery’s trees and just as we were beginning another volunteer named Reed showed up. He pulled out his chainsaw and we went to work on those trees. We then went to Ms. Inez’s house, an 83 year old woman who was obviously very distressed about her situation. After working there the rest of the afternoon we called it a day. The next day, Reed, Chris and Levi and I were able to cut up more trees for a single mother named Regina who had a 2 yr. old child, an older lady named Laura, and five other houses where people were at work. We were able to attend a community center meeting and share some disaster experience, along with Church leaders from the 10th Ave. Church of Christ and the 7th St. Church of Christ, alongside other local ministries and community leaders. The 10th Ave. Church had been distributing two containers of goods brought to them by Churches of Christ Disaster Relief from Nashville, Tn. and had a third container arriving on Wednesday of that same week.
We will be praying for the ones that still need help and the volunteers that are coming, and for those who are investing their time, energy and money in their own communities. We thank you for letting us contribute a small portion but God has a way of making small portions turn into big ones.We want to especially thank the owners of “The Big Red Barn”, as once they heard we were doing disaster relief, they gave us two free nights of stay. We’ll be back as soon as we can. IRC