Thousands volunteer to help disaster victims

By Mike McDaniel - email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - When tornados ripped through parts Mississippi recently, what did not get destroyed was the volunteer spirit of Mississippians.

"They are true everyday heroes ," said Deirdra Harris Glover with the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service

To date, almost 6,000 people from around the state and region jumped into action, putting on volunteer hats logging more than 21,700 hours. Those are just the ones reported so far, which is a lot of work with a different kind of payoff.

"When we volunteer, we invest in our communities and we have this sort of stake in each other," said Glover. "Mississippians are so huge hearted and they really band together. Everybody is in your neighborhood when something like this happens ."

Volunteer reception centers are staged in those hard hit areas like Webster and Chickasaw Counties where communities were blown away. While helping hands are busy at work, the need still grows and now, along the Mississippi River, flooding in.

As those flood waters continue to take over at this point there's no coordinated volunteer activity but it doesn't mean the need won't be there once the waters recede. A plan for long-term volunteer response is already in the works and Glover hopes volunteers will once again help a stranger in need.

"There's so many small things that people can do that make tremendous amounts of difference in times when you're whole world is turned upside down," said Glover.

Meanwhile, the United Way is offering financial assistance to families who've had to evacuate by paying rent, deposits and storage fees as well as paying other families $500 for taking in those who are displaced.

To volunteer and help with relief visit