In the wake of devastation, Southwire’s Project GIFT® stepped into action, providing relief for victims impacted by two recent tornado events in the southeast. In a little over a week, Project GIFT was able to collect food and supplies for thousands of affected families across Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
On Saturday, Feb. 24, an EF3 tornado tore through Columbus, Miss., leaving behind one fatality, 11 injuries and widespread damage throughout the area. Following the disaster, Southwire’s Starkville, Miss. Plant – located only 30 miles from the heart of the devastation – hosted a three-day community collection for relief supplies.
“I love seeing how people come together to help others,” said Natalie Henley, Human Resources manager and Giving Back coordinator for Southwire’s Starkville facility. “Southwire and their employees are such an example of what it means to give back, and I am so proud to work for a company that truly supports their employees and the communities.”
Through this collection, the Starkville Project GIFT team was able to fill a tractor-trailer of relief supplies, which were distributed in Columbus, Miss., on Sunday, March 3. The same day, an EF4 tornado ripped through Alabama and Georgia, leaving more than 20 dead, many injured and a vast expanse of damage to Lee County, Ala., and Talbotton, Ga.
Once again, Southwire’s Project GIFT was there to provide relief. This time, through a Blanket Brigade – collecting new, unused blankets for the thousands affected by the tornadoes, the nation’s deadliest in five years. More than 1,600 blankets were collected over a two-day period, which volunteers distributed on March 7.
“It was my first disaster relief event, and I was amazed at how the local communities came together,” said Jeremy Woodham, Southwire Speed order management specialist and Project GIFT volunteer. “To see neighbors, friends and community members who were impacted by such a devastating event come together to support each other was an incredible experience.”