Event planned for tornado victims; donations still needed
by Daniel Gaddy
Dec 08, 2011 | 1565 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Seven months have passed since the tornadoes hit. And for disaster survivors who spent much of the year with a tarp patching a tree-sized hole in their roof, tinsel and stocking-stuffers are low on the priority list. Because of that, members of the Walker County Long Term Recovery Committee have organized “A Christmas to Recover.”

At the event, 50 families affected by the April 27 storms will pick out a Christmas tree from a tree farm, and their children will make ornaments as the parents select a decoration kit.

“This is really the first step for them having a great 2012,” said Jared Usrey, an organizer of the event.

The Recovery Committee will provide the decorations primarily through donations from local businesses, churches and organizations.

On Wednesday, Usrey and committee member Cindy Smith accepted several decoration kits donated by members of the Walker High School Anchor Club and the Pilot Club of Jasper.

Pilot Club member Gina Nichols, a Cordova native, said the members wanted to show the families of storm survivors that things will get better.

“Our hearts still hurt for them,” she said.

Usrey and Smith said the committee could still use donations of stocking-stuffers and decoration kits for the “Christmas to Recover” event, which will be held Saturday.

Committee members said the location and time of the Christmas party will not be publicized to give the families privacy. The disaster survivors chosen for the event have been vetted through the committee’s case work and are receiving a form of disaster assistance.

Typical items for a decoration kit include shatterproof ornaments, tree skirts, wreaths, outdoor lights, extension chords and gift wrapping supplies. Local residents and groups can also donate stockings filled with candies, trinkets and a card from Santa Claus. Members of the Recovery Committee will be taking the stockings until Wednesday.

“This is a little luxury, a special something that will make these families feel good,” Smith said.

Usrey said the committee is also seeking groups to go out and help storm survivors who are unable to setup or decorate their home for Christmas.

For more information about the Recovery Committee or to donate a decoration kit or stocking, call 205-435-3175 or 205-522-3221. Kits and individual donations can also be dropped off at the Walker County Salvation Army building in downtown Jasper.