Local church helps clean up after tornado

Monday, March 31st 2008, 11:55 pm
By: News 9

By Mary Joseph, NEWS 9

Cleaning up all the debris scattered by the storm was made a bit easier for the neighbors in the Valencia neighborhood.

A group of strangers showed up to lend a helping hand to those homeowners.

Suddenly they were there - in droves - picking up after the storm - volunteers of all ages.

"Their house got ruined and they don't have any place to stay and their yard got trashed," 7-year-old Hayden Key said.

They may be strangers to the homeowners - but they are neighbors from LifeChurch just right up the road.

"They need help with their house and their yard," Hanna Warner said.

After seeing the damage on TV, church members started making phone calls - and soon they had enough volunteers with gloves in hand, ready to work.

"We live next to each other," LifeChurch Campus Pastor, Chris Spradlin said. "Let's serve each other, let's help each other out. Let's drop the labels, let's be there for each other."

Sunday night's storm destroyed one home in the Valencia addition. And although it was kinder to other homes, almost everyone got their share.

"Few holes in the roof, some windows blown out, not as bad as my neighbors," Jack Hoffman said.

And after seeing an overwhelming mess of their yards in the wake of the tornado, it was equally overwhelming to see people cleaning up and doing it fast.

"I've never been thru anything like this," Andrea Lyles said. "It humbles you, it really humbles you."

Changing a landscape from a scattered mess to manageable piles takes hard work. But, there were no complaints. Just ask the littlest ones why they are doing it.

"To be kind and help people and have love in your heart," ---- said.

"Because God wants us to help other people," ----- said.

The group did contact the homeowners and get permission to come onto the property and clean up before removing the trash Monday.

LifeChurch estimates between 100 to 125 people showed up to help.