Help still needed in Tuscaloosa two years later

WIAT-TV CBS42 Weather

[lin_video src=×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1367119178&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&show_title=1&va_id=4035192&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1367119178 type=script]TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – For every scrap of new construction and progress made in Tuscaloosa, for some people there is still, an every day struggle.

Storm survivor Coretha Ruffins explains, “They were trying to ensure that my family and I were going to be okay.  But…We’re still not.  Still a struggle for us.  It’s still a disaster after the disaster.”

Anywhere from 175 to 200 people a week still line up for essential supplies at Wings for Grace, a disaster assistance center housed in Forest Lake Baptist Church.

The Wings of Grace Disaster Relief Center has been open since the day after the tornado.

But two years later, they are still seeing 20 to 25 new people every week.

Organizers consider it a blessing that they’ve been able to continue serving storm victims.

But they are also in need.

Terri Hibbard explains, “Clothing and food are still the top two priorities, and then cleaning supplies and hygiene.  Deodorant, shampoos, something to wash their dishes, wash their clothing, just the basic necessities.”

The biggest needs are still so simple.

But those are the things Coretha Ruffins needs from Wings of Grace.

Her family lost everything in Alberta City.

That was only the beginning of her struggle.

“I mean, it was devastating.  It was literally like the end of the world.”

Through a series of miscommunications or missed promises Ruffins is now facing eviction.

She is on a fixed income and no longer receives FEMA assistance.

But she gets a lot from Wings of Grace.

“Its a really, really comforting experience.  You know, because if you need counseling or whatever, they talk to you.  They’re always going to give you something to pick you up, you know?”

As the years have passed, Wings of Grace has also noticed a change in the people they see on a weekly basis.

Hibbard says, “They have a peace about them.  Something to look forward to, they have a a hope there.  Something they didn’t have in the beginning.”

Ruffins isn’t sure what’s next. “It’s always something out there worse off than you are, so I just count it all joy, and just try to keep on going, doing the best I can.”

You can assist Wings of Grace by visiting their website by clicking here.


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