Published April 30, 2011
April 30: Tuscaloosa residents gather in a parking lot where food, water, and supplies are being distributed to those in need in Tuscaloosa, Ala.. (AP)
PRATT CITY, Ala. – Whether it’s refilling blood-pressure medicine or patrolling neighborhoods in a grocery-filled pickup truck, tornado victims in splintered Southern towns say volunteers are ensuring they’re well-fed and warm at night. At least a few, though, say they need more from the government: Help getting into their homes and cleaning up endless debris.
Gov. Robert Bentley had dispatched 2,000 National Guard troops around Alabama to help residents and keep the peace. Many blocked off roads or patrolled neighborhoods to keep away gawkers and looters. Others helped residents sift through their shattered homes.
In Ringgold, Ga., Poplar Springs Baptist Church had been transformed into an informal help center. Crews were dispatched from the church, some with chain saws to chop through the debris, others with bottled water and food. Inside the gymnasium, a barbecue buffet was feeding those without power.