By BRIAN HAWKINS
Some Starkville High School alumni are organizing a work day today to help the residents of the tornado-ravaged Pines Mobile Home Park with continued cleanup.
Members of the SHS Class of 1975 are helping to coordinate the work day, which will begin at 10 a.m. today at The Pines, which is located off South Louisville Street a short distance south of the Skate Odyssey roller skating rink.
â€śThe residents of The Pines Mobile Home Park need our help. ... They were not prepared for the damages or the total loss that some of the families received,â€ť said Geri Jones, a member of the Class of 1975. â€śWe need area volunteers to help with the removal of storm debris.â€ť
Jones and two of her classmates have been volunteering at The Pines to help the residents there. Many of the residents are elderly with disabilities and cannot participate in the cleanup, Jones.
The work day is a solution she and her classmates devised after several concerned citizens asked about what help was needed, Jones said. Those who plan to help are asked to bring yard rakes, shovels, power saws, garbage bags, trucks and trailers, she said.
â€śWe thank everyone in advance for their support,â€ť Jones said.
Red Cross response continues
Volunteers from the Northeast Mississippi chapter of the American Red Cross continue efforts to help tornado victims, said Megan H. Burkes, the development and communications officer.
As of Friday, Red Cross volunteers had assessed 33 homes at The Pines
and in the surrounding area that were destroyed or sustained major damage from Mondayâ€™s tornado.
The Red Cross has put 17 families in hotels, provided them with financial assistance to help purchase food, clothing and other items and distributed comfort kits, cleanup kits and tarps to the residents along with water and snacks, Burkes said.
â€śWe are reaching out to all families whose homes were destroyed or had major damage,â€ť said Burkes.
Families still needing assistance can all the Starkville Red Cross at 323-4621. The office on Felix Long Drive will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today to help residents needing assistance, Burkes said.
OSERVS continues to raise funds
The recently-formed OSERVS (Oktibbeha-Starkville Emergency Response Volunteer Services), which had volunteers on the scene immediately following the tornado, is working to raise funds to help the tornado victims meet long-term needs and replenish funds the new agency has already spent helping them.
More than $1,500 had been donated as of Friday, OSERVS volunteers said.
Monetary donations may be mailed to OSERVS, P.O. Box 443, Starkville, MS 39760, or dropped off at the Starkville Daily News offices at 304 E. Lampkin St. during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) weekdays.
A special mailbox for monetary donations has been placed just inside the front door of the SDN offices.
The Mayorâ€™s Office at City Hall on Lampkin Street has also designated as a dropoff site for monetary donations to OSERVS for storm relief efforts on weekdays.
Any checks should be made payable to OSERVS and designated for the storm victims. Since OSERVS has applied for status as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, all donations are tax-deductible and will remain in the community.