Churches and disaster relief teams help the Jacksonville community


JACKSONVILLE, Ala (WIAT) — The cleanup efforts in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas have been nonstop since a tornado hit the community last week. Volunteers are coming from all over the state and the country to help. 

The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief never takes a break from helping. So far, they’re up to 174 volunteers. 

“Our big effort has been working with the homeowners, removing tree and debris from their yard and tarp on houses or individual homeowners in this area,” said John Hayes, the instant commander for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. 

Since last Wednesday, many of the volunteers have been staying at Eagle Point Baptist Church. Pastor Scott Prater says they’re happy to help.

“We’ve been keeping their spirits up by encouraging them,” said Prater. 

Volunteers have been helping make food and cleaning up. 

“We do it to ease the stress these people are going through and we don’t care what religion they are,” said Hayes. “They don’t have to be Baptist for us to help.”

The church is also helping students and residents by giving them free access to WiFi and a computer.

“Some of the first things students said was their computer was gone and their apartment was totally destroyed,” said Prater. 

Even with the circumstances, Prater said this disaster has brought out the best in people.  

“The spirit of this community is not ‘help me’ but also ‘help my neighbors’. It’s ‘do the most we can for the people who need it the most’,” said Prater. 

Student and residents can use the free internet café Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. until Noon, but the church said that could change based on the need. 

Calhoun Baptist Disaster Relief is going to be taking over a huge part of the disaster relief, so if you need help with your home clean-up, contact them. 

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