Community lends hand to Pontotoc storm victims

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 12, 2001

Area residents showed their sympathy and support during lastweek with an overwhelming outpouring of love for the victims of adeadly tornado that swept through Pontotoc County two weeksago.

Donations collected during just five days filled almost everyinch of an 18-wheeler truck trailer, donated by McLane Southern,that will be taken to the disaster area Monday.

“We had such a good response. People have been calling andbringing stuff by all week,” said Brenda Richardson, assistant vicepresident of Trustmark National Bank, where the truck was parkedfrom Monday to Friday.

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The shipment will be the second from the area. The first was avan full of supplies taken last weekend by volunteer JamesLaird.

This week’s donations have been answered prayers for volunteershoping to help the more than 300 fellow Mississippians affected bythe tornado.

“We’re real pleased with it. There has been just a wideassortment of donations,” said Richardson.

Some of the items collected include two couches, a dishwasher,mattresses, a bunk bed, canned foods, a child’s car seat, cleaningsupplies, baby supplies, towels and clothing.

Volunteers from Trustmark stood by the 18-wheeler in shiftsevery day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and they were impressed at howmany people stopped by to donate items.

“There’s been a steady flow. We’ve had people of all ages andraces come by,” said Amy Owens, the special projects coordinator atthe bank.

Many of the people stopped by the 18-wheeler to find outspecifically what was needed before making trips to purchaseitems.

Volunteers noticed that everyone gave from their heart and triedto give as much as they could. Many talked about how such a tragedycould occur closer to home, and they believed other Mississippianswould help them if that ever happened.

“I decided to give because it could have been here inBrookhaven, and I believe in helping others any way I can,” saidJeanette Newton, who dropped off a bag filled with itemsFriday.

Along with the 18-wheeler full of goods will be a significantamount of money donated from local churches and individuals.