With the devastation from Hurricane Ida widespread and the need great, some Mobile-area residents have been moved to do more than send money.

Gulf Shores resident Tony Sawyer is one of them. He gathered donations at his restaurant, Bob’s Downtown Diner, and then headed west in a borrowed trailer in search of people in need. He documented his day today on video that he shared with FOX10 News.

“I want to get involved in communities that want to pitch in or want to help,” he says in the video. “And I want to help other people to pitch in and help as much as humanly possible.”

Sawyer pointed to some downed trees along his route.

“Just look behind me,” he says. “This is just a small portion of the damage. This is just getting into it.”

Sawyer found plenty of grateful people along the way, like the Rev. Brandon Langley, pastor of St. Rose Community Church.

“There’s almost a thousand people who still haven’t been able to get out of their houses,” he says in Sawyer’s video. “And don’t have anybody bringing them supplies yet. So at some point, we’re gonna load a trailer down and see how far we can get with supplies and just kind of, you know, pass out.”

Says Sawyer: “Well I hope that little bit of stuff we brought helps, man.”

Answers Langley: “Every little bit helps.”

Bryan Bays, branch manager of SCP Distributors in Mandeville, Louisiana, also was grateful for the help. “A godsend,” he called it.

“Electricity’s out everywhere. You’re fortunate if you get electricity on,” he said. “Gas is a task, trying to get gasoline for generators. As you can see … there’s lines and lines – miles long of lines of people waiting to get gasoline. It’s tough.”

The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office is helping, too. Six volunteers from the agency left Thursday with a trailer full of food and water. Patrol Deputy Josh Pounds said Team Sheriff has set up in the parking lot of the police department in Ponchatoula, northwest of New Orleans.

The mission is to keep the local police and first responders going. Pounds said he and his fellow Mobilians started preparing breakfast at about 5 a.m. and have been cooking nonstop.

“So what we’re doing is we’re cooking, three meals a day – breakfast, lunch and supper. We start the meeting at around 6 a.m. feeding all the local first responders, including local, state and federal first responders here.”

The volunteer cooks have long days ahead, as well. Pounds said he expects to put in 15-hour days until Thursday, when Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran plans to send a replacement team.

Pounds said he comes to the job with some experience.

“I love to cook,” he said. “I cook a lot at home. I do love to cook. So it is something I do enjoy to do.”

Just not on this scale.

“Never cooked for this many people at one time,” he said. “That’s for sure.”

All content © 2021, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.


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