Six months later, people are still getting on their feet

Six months later, people are still getting on their feet
Source: WDAM

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Five months ago Renee Snell's home was in rubble.

"This house was demolished," Snell said. "They had to take this house all the way to the ground."the

Today, a fresh coat of paint, a nicely manicured lawn. And with tarps on roofs out her back window, she sits in a house. Empty. On lawn

chairs. Thankful.

"I thank every volunteer that helped," Snell said. "Honestly I couldn't have done this alone. I wouldn't be here today if people had not volunteered and helped. I have the best family support group. Friend support group."

Renee had the help of her neighbors and insurance. But in Hattiesburg, for those without insurance or a network of help, R3SM is here and the volunteer work is far from over.

"We've had volunteers who've done some great work." Varnado said. "And we have more volunteers coming in during the fall. But right now during our hot, muggy, summertime season, we don't have a lot of people signing up to come to Mississippi."

So R3SM is looking locally. Trinity episcopal church volunteers on the fourth Saturday of every month since the tornado,

James McCormick says they always try to wrangle up a group of volunteers to help R3SM. And they are focused on a house on Edwards street. Volunteer Coordinator, Chris Adams says this family is still waiting but the volunteers here today help

"One day closer," Adams said. "One day closer to be able to come home. This family is currently displaced. Currently living with family and ready to get home."

And that is the goal of James McCormick and the rest of the church. To help people get back home. McCormick has a big toolbox, and an even bigger heart.

"I have a bunch of tools and I like to use them," McCormick said. "I do it because it needs to be done. I cant do it all, but a little bit. I can do a little bit."

In downtown Hattiesburg a t the R3SM offices, Sheila Varnado says volunteers are the key. The more people volunteer, the faster people get back in their homes - like Renee Snell and her family.

"The biggest hurdle at the moment," Varnado said, "is the lack of a steady pool of volunteers."

She's not exaggerating, either. In this house alone between electrical, plumbing, interior and exterior, the list of repairs is lengthy.

Chris Adams: "We are getting the kitchen cabinets in today. We have some plumbing issues to deal with. Electrical issues to deal with. But there is still another few weeks of work to be done here. When that gets done is dependent on volunteers."

Volunteers are helpful for recovery. Whether it is on hillcrest loop in petal. Or on Edwards street. And for R3SM, despite all of the fundraising the availability of volunteers dictates almost everything.

"The money wont be spent until we have the volunteers to come in to actually do the work," Varnado said.

And R3SM wants every family to land on their feet - to feel like Renee Snell.

"I'm thinking, okay, I can do this, I can do this, Snell said. "But then I didn't have to. Because others stepped up to help."