Marion, Jones Counties need help in recovery

Marion, Jones Counties need help in recovery

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Pine Belt Community Foundation

Severe weather swept across Jones and Marion Counties, spawning at least five reported tornadoes that killed four people, injured at least 50 others and destroyed homes. This is the deadliest December tornado event in Mississippi since the Vicksburg tornado on Dec. 5, 1952.

Tuesday, Gov. Phil Bryant issued a state of emergency for Marion and Jones counties, along with other parts of the state affected by severe weather.

In response to this devastation, The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation is asking for donations to help those in need. We have two funds to help with this disaster: 1) Columbia Strong; and, 2) the Pine Belt Community Disaster Fund.

The Columbia Strong Fund, managed by the PineBelt Community Foundation, was opened by Woodlawn Church which is located in Columbia, MS. Jerron Carney, Pastor of Woodlawn Church, called the PineBelt Community Foundation the next day stating that they have set up a committee that will review all applications to ensure money raised goes to those truly in need.

The Pine Belt Community Disaster Fund is a partnership with R3SM, Restore Recover and Rebuild Southeast MS. R3SM will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to provide case workers and case investigators to help those in need with long-term recovery. Money raised by the PineBelt Foundation will help those who have applied for assistance and have been approved.

"Right before Christmas people are left with damaged roofs, blown off doors, uninhabitable homes and other life-altering circumstances, stated David Fortenberry, President of the Board of Directors of the PineBelt Community Foundation. "We all need to come together to help our neighbors."

To help, please donate by writing a check to The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation and indicate in the memo line: "Columbia Strong Fund" or the "Pine Belt Community Disaster Fund" and send the check to 1507 Hardy Street, Suite 208, Hattiesburg, MS 30401. Donations can also be made directly through the website: (click on the "DONATE TODAY" button). Again, indicate the name of the Fund in the message line.

For more information about The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation call 601.583.6180.