FEMA aid coming to tornado victims, volunteers not giving up - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FEMA aid coming to tornado victims, volunteers not giving up

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HARRISON, TN (WRCB) -- There's another big change happening this weekend for Hamilton County tornado victims. Camp Joy is closing as a distribution center leaving Greenwood Baptist Church as the only help location.

While hundreds work to replace an entire house, even homeowners with slight damage can start applying for federal aid. Local volunteers want storm victims to know they aren't stopping now.

"One word I would use to sum it all up total devastation as far as personally and for the neighborhood and the land," storm victim Krista Towers said.

A tornado with winds up to 165 miles per hour ravaged Krista Towers' home on Short Tail Springs Road in Hamilton County. She doesn't know what her next move is, but says complete strangers will help her through.

"Can't say enough about the volunteers. They have been absolutely fantastic," Towers said.

She's one of many seeking help at Greenwood Baptist Church. From food, to clothing and personal items, dozens of churches, organizations and individuals still work to meet immediate needs.

"The community has been doing such a beautiful job taking care of its own," storm victim John Currie said.

"It's not just us. It's everybody in this community has really pulled together," Greenwood Baptist Church Senior Pastor Toby Brogden said.

Volunteers are packing up at Camp Joy this weekend, and moving all operations to the Greenwood Baptist gym. Saturday was the last day to deliver sacked meals to victims, but they will still serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at the church.

"It'll be better communication, I believe, having everybody under one roof," Pastor Brogden said.

Pastor Brogden wondered whether FEMA help would ever come.

"Folks in authority here in Hamilton County really fought and made phone calls and got that to happen," Pastor Brogden said.

"I think it's just absolutely wonderful," Towers said.

"It's really good to be able to tell them, yes we have heard. Yes, it has been declared," Pastor Brogden said.

The church is also making Internet service available so victims can apply for federal aid online.

FEMA representatives will be coming to the area to help with the process, but there's no word yet on when they will be here or where they'll set up.

Organizers say the recovery center at Greenwood Baptist Church will remain open until further notice.

FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov  or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

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