PINE BELT, Miss. - The following is a press release from The Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation.
On January 21, 2017 an EF3 tornado tore through the Pine Belt killing four people and injuring dozens more. The tornado ripped a 31-mile path across the region and damaged or destroyed more than 1,131 homes, 73 businesses and 24 government businesses. In addition, many churches and William Carey University were badly damaged.
“We want to support the long term recovery efforts of the Pine Belt area by supporting those individuals who have many unmet needs after the storm,” stated Hoppy Cole, President & CEO of The First, A National Banking Association. “Therefore we have decided to donate $20,000 and challenge other corporations and individuals to give or match our gift.”
“This disaster has disrupted the lives of thousands of people; many have lost everything,” added Cole. “ “It’s now time for us to bring all of our resources together to help. We will be partnering with the Greater PineBelt Community Foundation who has a long-term recovery Disaster Fund and has raised a lot of money after disasters in the past.”
“Our Board of Directors decided to set up the Pine Belt Disaster to help with long-term recovery needs soon after a tornado devastated our community in 2013,” said Theresa Erickson, Executive Director of the PineBelt Foundation. “Then in 2015 the PineBelt Community Foundation promoted the Disaster Fund and raised close to $500,000 to help families affected by the tornado that devastated Columbia, MS. We work with R3SM and UMCOR who will handle the case management to make sure that every dollar raised will go to cases that have been verified. Donors can be reassured that their donations will be used wisely.”
“We have a goal to raise $1 million and hope that everyone will spread the word,” said Terri Bell, President of the Foundation. “We are honored to be able to help our fellow citizens in this way.”