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Members, students provide relief after deadly tornadoes hit South

Church volunteers rushed to help after tornadoes Feb. 5-6 left a swath of destruction and claimed more than 50 lives in Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky.
Just a few of the highlights:
• More than 800 students from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., joined volunteers who fanned out across stormwrecked areas to help devastated victims.
“This is what Christians do for each other,” Harding sophomore Marie Yates told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “They are supposed to take care of each other. … We wanted to do whatever we can to help.”
• After the storm nearly wiped out Union University in Jackson, Tenn., nearby Jackson Christian School — associated with Churches of Christ — opened its gymnasium for the Baptist university to play its games the rest of the season.
Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson also volunteered its assistance to Union, while members of the Campbell Street church Jackson offered to house displaced Union students for a semester.
“All the churches have crews working tirelessly to help families devastated by the storms,” said Kenneth Grizzle, minister of the Campell Street church.
• In Alabama, eight or nine churches partnered to help storm victims, said Bill Becker, minister of the Moulton church.
More than 3,000 meals were served at the Fairfield, Ala., church, the Decatur Daily reported.
Also, volunteers unloaded tractor-trailers filled with food boxes, baby items, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items from Churches of Christ Disaster Relief in Nashville, Tenn.
• At a makeshift shelter at the Hartsville Pike church in Gallatin, Tenn., women served soup, chili and cornbread, and piles of blankets, pillows, clothes and toys were collected for victims, The Tennessean reported.
After a baby was found alive in the mud more than 150 yards from where his home once stood, Hartsville Pike minister Doyle Farris told The Associated Press that the child was a reminder that people “should never give up, even in the midst of the worst storm.”
• Terry Gillim, youth and family minister at the Lafayette, Tenn., church, which was heavily involved in relief efforts, serves as a hospital chaplain.
He wrote on his Facebook.com page about the scene he witnessed at the hospital: “I shall never forget the things I saw that evening. The children who were afraid, staring wide-eyed at what was going on, finally falling asleep on blankets on the floor. Strangers comforting children who were not their own because their parents did not survive the storm or were in emergency surgery because of their injuries.”

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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