LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Hundreds in Little Rock came together Tuesday to make sure those picking up the pieces after Friday’s tornado are not having to do it alone.
The outreach event held at the City Center was led by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Send Relief, two Southern Baptist organizations that are designed to respond to natural disasters. Leaders from Immanuel Baptist Church were also part of the effort, with the help of other churches.
Send Relief President Bryant Wright said the goal was to provide necessities like food and water to victims of the tornado.
Attorney General Tim Griffin volunteered alongside hundreds of others who traveled from other states to help.
“People need these toiletries, they need the groceries,” he said. “We even had one of our volunteers holding a three-month-old baby, while the parents are going around checking all the boxes.”
Cars lined up all the way to the street as people from central Arkansas who have lost much of their belongings came to get the basics. Charlotte Jackson was one of the many in line Tuesday, saying she just needed a meal.
Jackson lives in west Little Rock and said her home was destroyed by the tornado, and she still is not able to go inside of it to try to gather any belongings left. As a result, she is needing anything and everything, including housing.
“Just overwhelmed,” Jackson said. “What do I do next? How do I handle this? Where do I go? Where are we going to stay?”
Jackson said she, her daughter and her disabled sister are now without a home and are having to stay with different friends. She said she has not been able to find a hotel room in Little Rock, Bryant, Maumelle, Conway or other neighboring areas.
Wright said that, while it is important to them to provide the basics, their mission is to show people the heart behind their work.
“When people have lost everything – whether it is the refugees in Ukraine or the people here in Arkansas – people are open to realizing there is something more than the material aspect, the physical dimensions of this life,” Wright said.
Wright said helping people in times of need is a way to live out the gospel and share it with others.
“We fulfill Christ’s great commandment of loving God, and loving our neighbor, by helping people in need,” he said.
Jackson said while the basics like food, water and clothes are necessary right now, she is also in need of a sense of peace to get through the stressful days ahead.
“Just trying to be at peace with the situation,” she said.
Representatives from Send Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief also travelled across Arkansas Tuesday afternoon to look at the damage and pray with not only victims, but volunteers as well.