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Columbia Strong: Your Neighbors Could Use Your Help in the Tornado-Ravaged Town

COLUMBIA, Miss.–IF you can imagine a nice fireplace all decked out with stockings, a tree in the corner, lights blinking on and off, then a loud rumble. A tornado ripped through Columbia two days before Christmas and took the holiday with it. Many of the city’s poorest residents had their homes destroyed, with no way to replace the building or the belongings.

The, FEMA rejected the request for individual assistance, sticking rigidly to a rule about 100 homes being a requirement before they approve that kind of assistance.

“Columbia Strong was a community effort in response to the storm,” said Nick Ingram, one of the organizers of Columbia Strong. “It was a group of business leaders and faith leaders in Marion County who realized there was a need. A lot of the people affected by this storm were the poorest of the poor and they weren’t gonna be able to figure out how to put their lives back together.”

THE INTERVIEW FROM HEAD TO HEAD

He said the effort got more serious after the rejection from FEMA. He said people across the state have stepped up with money and time.

“We’re just here to make an appeal to help us complete that process.”

SuperTalk Mississippi is hosting an all-day radiothon Tuesday, April 14, to help raise money to help groups who are in Columbia to help with recovery, so that those groups can make progress and do the most good rebuilding.

You can donate by clicking on columbiastrong.org.

“That brief moment when it appeared on the national media, it doesn’t really do justice to the level of devastation,” said Ron Mathis, political director for the Mississippi District United Pentecostal Church.

“There’s been a great outpouring of support from groups around the country and around the state.”

You can donate any time, not just Tuesday.

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