HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the United Way of Southeast Mississippi.
Since Saturday's storm, United Way of Southeast Mississippi has witnessed an incredible outpouring of support from the community and from the state.
As news of the devastation began to spread, groups started seeking ways to lend a hand to their community. Many volunteers did not know where to turn. Volunteer Hattiesburg, a program of United Way of SE MS, stepped in to help organize the effort.
Immediately following the storm, volunteers were ready to begin debris cleanup and removal, but before that could begin, affected areas had to be deemed safe from City and State officials. While waiting for that clearance, Volunteer Hattiesburg collected contact information from more than 300 volunteers. Opportunities were created for these volunteers to help distribute ice, tarps and food.
The first three volunteer efforts included the distribution of 500 bags of ice donated by Sanderson Farms, distribution of 1,000 tarps to those with roof damage, and serving and delivering more than 1,500 meals with Christian Services.
On Tuesday, January 24, two Volunteer Response Centers (VRCs) opened. The VRCs are located at East Jerusalem Baptist Church at 410 S. Tipton St. in Hattiesburg and The Petal Civic Center at 712A S Main St. in Petal. Volunteers are now asked to report to these centers to receive information about where they can serve.
"Residents of the Pine Belt are known for their willingness to help during adversity. It's touching to see how many people are willing to spend their time and energy helping those who have lost so much. We see this spirit of giving, not just in the midst of disaster, but daily and throughout the year, and expect it to grow in the coming weeks," explained Tracie Fowler, president/CEO of United Way of Southeast Mississippi.
For more information on ways to volunteer or make a donation, click here.