Local organizations pitch in to help Mississippi tornado victims

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:29 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - After an EF 4 tornado ripped through Mississippi, people from our area are pitching in to help. The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office has been in Amory, Mississippi since Sunday. Corporal Lonnie Parsons took this video while touring the damage yesterday.

“It is complete destruction. Metal twisted in ways you wouldn’t believe. It is haunting to see what was there one day completely shredded the next. It brings you back down to earth,” said Corporal Lonnie Parsons.

He says hearing some of the stories from that night was sobering.

“A gentleman was standing at his back door,” said Parsons. “He could see the tornado coming towards him. He felt the tornado pick his house up, move it 15-20 feet and drop it back down.”

To help, the sheriff’s office brought four patrol deputies and a K9 to assist with search and rescue as well as seven people with their cook team. Parsons says so far, they’ve fed officers from 15-20 different law enforcement agencies.

“You can see it written on their faces. Some have lost everything, they’ve lost their whole lives,” added Parsons. “When they come in and we’re able to give them that plate of food and that cold water it really brings a smile to their face.”

More help is on the way. Toomey’s Mardi Gras is also collecting supplies to fill this 54-foot trailer.

“We’re trying to think outside the box,” said Stephen Toomey. “Things like grills, hygiene products, tents just if you were blown away what would you need to survive.”

Stephen Toomey says they’re already planning to send left over moon pies and cups from Mardi Gras. And even some furniture among other donations from the community.

“Three dog crates. Our dog passed so we don’t have a dog anymore so we’re going to send those. People have been bringing suitcases. There were three brand new suitcases, so we filled them back up,” added Toomey.

It’ll take some time for those affected to rebuild but both Toomey and Parsons hope this will make the process a little easier.

“The people are strong and not willing to give up on themselves or their town,” said Parsons.

“God be with you,” said Toomey.

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office is getting another team ready to head to Mississippi. If you’d like to donate you can call 251-574-8633 for more information. Toomey’s is collecting donations until they fill the trailer. If you’d like to help you can bring any donations to Toomey’s Mardi Gras Monday-Friday from 10:00-5:00 and on Saturday from 10:00-3:00.

Both organizations say some of the biggest needs include tents, tarps, and totes.