Cullman, Alabama group providing great aid to Orange area

Published 9:14 am Thursday, September 14, 2017

MAURICEVILLE — What a difference teams from out of town have made throughout Orange County’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

So many folks from out of state have been key forces in helping people in our area get back on their feet.

One special group came from Cullman, Alabama. About 19 volunteers have been stationed at First Baptist Church Mauriceville handing out food and supplies.

Many are members of Baystar Church from Cullman. Not only did their church members contribute but a lot of the community did as well.

“We feel so blessed to be able to help our friends from Texas,” said Samantha Young, who along with Chris Hopper, helped organized the effort. “Our Texas brothers and sisters, we’ve found out they are fighters and they are going to bounce back from this devastation, they are Texas-strong.”

The group, which arrived Saturday at First Baptist Church Mauriceville and started supplying people and feeding them on Monday, has been a blessing for sure.

“We got here late Saturday, had some fellowship and hit the ground running Monday,” said Young. “So far, we have fed over 2,000 people a variety of meals whether it be hamburgers, hot dogs or spaghetti. We’re so thankful that First Baptist Church Mauriceville allowed us to set up here.”

The group brought with them four tractor trailers filled with food and supplies such as water, clothes, baby food, diapers and shoes.

“We feel so grateful for everyone that contributed back home to make this possible,” said Young. “We’ve been sending pictures back home and people have responded so well in aiding this effort. We’re here because we want to be here. When we can put some smiles on folks’ faces and provide them with a hot meal and some warmth with items such as clothing and supplies, that’s what it is all about.”

Folks from Cullman totally understand the plight of people in Orange County.

“About five years ago, if people remember, we had three tornadoes touch down in our area of Alabama,” said Young. “It really devastated our town and took out a lot of homes. We’ll always remember the rubble and what it took to rebuild. We remember so many kind folks that came to our aid, that’s something we’ll never forget. So we’re so happy to be here and show our spirit to help those that need it.”

The group is helping in other ways as well.

“We met an elderly couple that couldn’t get out of their house for days and they were rationing food the best they could as they were eating things such as spam,” said Young. “We were able to get some spaghetti to them. Then we realized no one was helping them gut their house so we decided we would do that for them. That led to helping three other families with homes in gutting theirs out as well.”

The group’s last day to be in the area is Friday as they will gather up their things and head back to the “Heart of Dixie.”

“We’re definitely going to take a lot back with us,” said Young. “People in Texas are so resilient. They’re all working so hard to bounce back. The spirit people have here is amazing. We’ve been blessed to meet so many great people and we’ve made new friends for life.”