LANCASTER (CBSDFW.COM) – The magnitude of the loss is beginning to sink in here. “I have to admit, I’ve been in denial… until yesterday,” says Andrea Harris. “It’s been so unreal to know that I’ve actually been displaced.”
The mother of two young sons, Harris says she doesn’t want to adopt a “victim” mentality—but, found herself finally at a loss because “I don’t have anything.”
“I worked for my stuff,” says Harris, wiping away tears. “And to have to leave it, I just don’t want to leave.”
But, she finally visited Lancaster’s Donations and Assistance center because the storm had destroyed all that she had.
Organizers say the center has been set up as a “one-stop-shop” for residents impacted by Tuesday’s tornado. Survivors can register with the Red Cross, request assistance with debris removal, and select from tons of donated supplies. Everything from clothes to insulated coolers, water and non-perishable food items are neatly organized throughout the indoor stadium on the grounds of Lancaster High School. Right now, organizers say the center will be staffed from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. through Tuesday. On Easter Sunday, volunteers will be on hand from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
As Tornado survivors rolled carts through the facility loading up supplies, a steady stream of North Texans came through the doors, donating even more. Lancaster Fire Department Battalion Chief Rob Franklin is coordinating the center. He says it’s been set up to make the process of getting help as easy as possible. But, Chief Franklin says that people accessing the center’s services will be able to do more than just restock supplies.
“We’re giving them a place where they can come, and not only get things, they can make a plan, and that’s what’s most important. Because when they leave here, they’re gonna know what they need to do to get their lives back in the right direction.”
Harris says she’s still working on her “post tornado” plan. But, the priority now, she says is to make life as normal as possible for her two boys. So she was again, fighting back tears as volunteers handed them Easter baskets filled with goodies. “It just touches my heart,” says Harris. “It does, it means a lot… it’s unexplainable, it really is… I don’t know what to say.”
Volunteers from Prestonwood Baptist church delivered some 700 baskets to the center today. Prestonwood’s Minister of Spiritual Development, Jeff Young, coordinated the effort and says the baskets were a way to convey “the hope we have in Jesus”. Children of the church put the baskets together on Wednesday evening, he says, and were eager to deliver them right away.
Harris says the outpouring of support has been overwhelming. “I want to say to the volunteers, I appreciate it, because some people are struggling themselves. But, they decided to come out here and do something for somebody else—and that’s what the world should be about.”