Groups from Gulf Coast, New Orleans feed tornado relief voluntee - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Groups from Gulf Coast, New Orleans feed tornado relief volunteers

Volunteers with Gulf Coast Produce cook hamburgers for volunteers and tornado victims Saturday. Photo credit WDAM. Volunteers with Gulf Coast Produce cook hamburgers for volunteers and tornado victims Saturday. Photo credit WDAM.
Volunteers and tornado victims line up for free hot dogs from Dat Dog Saturday. Photo credit WDAM. Volunteers and tornado victims line up for free hot dogs from Dat Dog Saturday. Photo credit WDAM.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

As volunteers come to the Hattiesburg area to help with tornado relief, lots of other people are coming into town to feed them.   

The folks at Biloxi's Gulf Coast Produce made the drive north to provide hamburgers and gumbo for both storm victims and volunteers at the Hattiesburg Volunteer Response Center.

They were joined by Dat Dog from New Orleans, which provided lots of free hot dogs.

"This morning, we left the warehouse at 7 o'clock and we've cooked over 400 hamburgers, 25 pounds of sausage and probably enough gumbo to feed 500 people," said Mike Alise, co-owner of Gulf Coast Produce.   

"The damage, we saw it coming through, was devastating and we're just here to help everybody out and feed them and hopefully, put a smile on their face," said Victoria Verhagen with Dat Dog. 

Meanwhile, the volunteer response centers in Hattiesburg and Petal have been busy coordinating groups of volunteers, who are helping dozens of storm victims.  

Several corporate, civic and church groups are registering with the centers to work mostly on debris removal.

So far, more than 1,000 people have been sent into the field to help. 

"They're really just coming here to provide hope and provide hands and boots on the ground to get this started, because they know it's a long road ahead," said Elizabeth Winton, director of Volunteer Hattiesburg.   

"They just want to help, they don't care how they help, they don't care how they do it," said Autumn Fox, with Americorps NCCC Southern Region. "They're like, we'll cook, we'll provide any kind of support they need and they're just ready to go." 

So far, more than 300 work orders have been issued from the volunteer response centers in Petal and Hattiesburg. 

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