Charity Aid Group Helps Ala. Tornado Survivors

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Last week's storms across the South was the second deadliest tornado-related tragedy in U.S. history.

The survivors are left with the near-impossible task of rebuilding their lives and they're getting some help from CBN's Operation Blessing International.

"All I seen was a big ole puff of white cloud coming down the road, and I just did make it in the house before it took my front porch off. By the time I got to the kitchen, and looked out the window, my neighbor's house was gone," one survivor said.

The largest and most powerful tornadoes on record ripped through seven states, killing nearly 350 people.

Alabama was hit the worst. Pratt City and Pleasant Grove, which are areas of Birmingham, were devastated.

"Me and my mama was in a huddle, covering the kids. One of the scriptures my mom was quoting was the 23rd Psalm. The Lord is my shepard, I shall not want. My mom kept saying we were covered by the blood of Jesus. Nothing was going to hurt us at all," another storm survivor said.

"We made it out just in time. We weren't out two minutes before the floor fell in," another person said.

Hundreds fled to their basements for protection, but the category 5 tornado ripped their houses to shreds.

Local, state, and federal authorities responded quickly, and search and rescue missions continue.

"We connected with local emergency management and said 'What is your greatest need?' and how can we meet that need?," said Operation Blessing International's Jody Herrington. "They said, 'Jody, if you could serve hot meals, we have search and rescue teams and first responders, and they need hot meals.' So we've been shuttling hot meals to about five different communities. We served over 2600 meals yesterday."

"It's awful. This was actually a tragedy and if it wasn't for Operation Blessing coming out with hot meals, cold water, we would actually be in bad trouble," said Sheila Tyson. "We needed assistance right then. They came right in without hesitation and assisted people in the community. This was thousands and thousands of people who needed this help."

Operation Blessing's base camp was set up at Westwood Baptist Church, where Steve Potts is the pastor.

"We got a call asking would we be interested in being a staging area for Operation Blessing, and that was a no-brainer," he explained. "To work with people who know what they're doing, that do this on a consistent basis, and that have the expertise of contacting local officials and setting up all the ground work and being able to hit the ground running."

Many members from the church volunteered to serve food with Operation Blessing.

"Appreciate it. Appreciate it. Thanks a lot, guys. We appreciate this," said one woman.

"They're still in search and rescue mode. So tomorrow, we'll begin to use our heavy equipment to begin the clean-up phase of helping homeowners begin to remove rubble and debris out from their homes," Herrington said.

"While we see devastating times and disasters, what's so rewarding for Operation Blessing is to come in to offer hope and encouragement and help them see that they can rebuild, that they can life, they can start their life over," she added.

Find out how you can help Operation Blessing International's disaster relief efforts. 

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Special to CBNNews.com

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