Volunteers helping tornado victims at Fort Stewart - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Volunteers helping tornado victims at Fort Stewart

Donations fill the lobby of the hotel on post at Fort Stewart. (Source: WTOC) Donations fill the lobby of the hotel on post at Fort Stewart. (Source: WTOC)

Dozens of military families on Fort Stewart displaced by Wednesday's severe weather are getting some help from all over post, and the surrounding community.

Some of that help is in the form of donations, while in other cases it is aid services from the American Red Cross and United Military Care. 

It's truly amazing, and a testament to the close bond military families form. The amount of support that's come from right here at post, and even beyond. The American Red Cross actually had to make a request for more volunteers to help sort all the donation items.

"Today I am volunteering with ACS, just to help the spouses get their paperwork started, make sure if there are any needs that they have, make sure that those are addressed. Help distract the kids if they need it, make sure the TV is on cartoons,” said Army Community Service volunteer Sarah Reyes.

Reyes is one of many volunteers on post helping storm victims get back on their feet.

"Now it's kind of the second and third day out. So if someone still doesn't have a house, the military is taking care of that. They are working with their housing department, and they are getting that taken care of. We are kind of filling in that gap, of if they need food, or if they still need some type of lodging or any type of emergency assistance,” said Mark Hooper, American Red Cross – service to the Armed Forces.

At the IHG hotel on post, the meeting lodge has turned into a pop-up thrift store, full of donations from diapers to dog food. Things like diapers and microwaveable food are always in need, with so many young families having to stay in hotel rooms for the time being. 

"We are here too, you know, help with morale, help with the things that they need. And make sure that they are successful going forward,” said Myra Ebner, United Military Care.

Ebner says the donations are coming in from the surrounding community, as well as right here on post, from folks like Serina Hall.

"My husband isn't here. So, when I told him what was going on, and told him how scared I was, I couldn't imagine being by myself. It is hard being by yourself as it is, and having to go through this on top of just dealing with everyday life, it’s crazy,” said Hall.

Donations came in so fast, more volunteers had to be brought in just to help sort.

"It brings a tear, for anyone who walks into that room and realizes, that many people care,” said Denielle Finken, donating to storm victims.

"We had one young woman come in yesterday, she moved here on the 3rd of January, she and her husband moved here on the 3rd of January. Her mother passed away on the 17th of January, and now her home has been destroyed. And she had nothing. And so, as a grandmother, all I wanted to do was give her a hug, and say what can we do to help,” asked Myra Ebner, United Military Care.

While helping gather items, volunteer groups, like the American Red Cross and United Military Care have offered other kinds of support to storm victims, even if that means just being a shoulder to cry on.

Donations are being taken at the post hotel, and at 400 North Main Street in Hinesville. The United Military Care says starting Sunday, any items that remain at the post hotel will be moved to their office.

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