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Churches Collecting Items for Tornado Victims

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By Jordan Bridges

Messenger Reporter

PORTER SPRINGS – As residents of Polk County work to recover from a 140-mph tornado that ripped through the city of Onalaska and neighboring communities on April 22, a local church in Porter Springs in lending a hand.

The tornado destroyed 173 homes and damaged 306, according to Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy.

The judge also declared a local state of disaster for Polk County and a shelter has been established for the displaced residents at the Dunbar Gymnasium in Livingston.

The Porter Springs Baptist Church, with Pastor Wayne Stewart at the helm, has rallied the community together in support of Polk County by collecting donations for the affected families.

“We made a delivery to Onalaska First Baptist Church, who have become a hub for that area, on Monday, April 27,” Pastor Stewart said. ”They have been working to help feed these people and other relief workers all while they gather supplies for those hurt by the storm. We’re considering another trip possibly this Friday, May 1 or the following Monday on May 4.”

“As for items needed, there is always a demand for bottled water to help the residents out and keeping the volunteers hydrated. The residents also need toiletries,” Stewart said, “Imagine the items one would need when they first wake up and get ready for the day. Tooth brush, paste, deodorant, etc. – these people are waking up with nothing. Another large demand is for baby food and formula.”

“For those that have already given, I would like to say thank you,” Stewart gratefully said, “Other than the church members, we have had people from Madisonville that gave – even as far as the Woodlands. None of this would be possible without their help.”

Pastor Wayne Stewart can be reached at the following number 936-206-0090 for anyone that would like to help the residents of Polk County. For anyone wanting to donate who resides north of Crockett, donations are also being accepted at Grapeland Baptist Church please call 936-687-2445 to confirm drop off time.

Jordan Bridges can be contacted about this article at jbridges@messenger-news.com

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