Poarch donates $500,000 to tornado relief

Published 8:54 pm Thursday, May 12, 2011

With continuing relief needed for those affected by tornadoes across more than half of the state, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is putting their money into action.

Officials with the PBCI Tribe announced Friday that $500,000 will be distributed to those hardest hit as a result of the April 27 storms.

Tribal Chairman Buford Rolin said the news of widespread destruction prompted the response by the Tribe.

“I think everyone who has seen the pictures of the destruction caused by the tornadoes that struck our State wants to help in any way they can,” Rolin said. “We hope this donation will help begin to ease some of the suffering of our neighbors. This is the first of what we want to do to help and we look forward to continue to work with relief agencies on the ground in the affected areas.”

April Rolin, Tribal emergency management director, said the response by the Tribe is paying back assistance the Tribe received after hurricanes in recent years.

“All of us at Poarch Creek remember how relief organizations helped us after Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis hit our area,” Rolin said. “Organizations like the Red Cross helped us so much. We had so many people in the area without food, water, electricity or ice. Thanks to the Red Cross, we were able to feed everyone in the community twice a day after the storm and take care of their basic needs.”

PBCI officials are making a $50,000 contribution to Red Cross Chapters in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa with additional funding passed along to the Governor’s Relief Fund and the PBCI Disaster Relief Fund.

“We are thrilled to be able to give back to that organization and others who are helping families who have lost so much,” Rolin said.

Additionally, PBCI has sent relief in the form of physical assistance throughout the affected areas.

Robert McGhee, Tribal Council treasurer and governmental relations advisor, said the assistance given by PBCI following the storms was the first efforts in helping provide relief to victims.

“Immediately after the tornadoes hit, the Tribe’s emergency management response teams were dispatched to the area to help with disaster relief,” McGhee said. “We feel for the victims of this disaster and want to do anything we can to help.”

PBCI joins dozens of churches, organizations and clubs in their efforts to help provide assistance and relief measures for those affected by the storms.

On Monday, six Atmore residents accompanied an 18-wheeler trailer full of supplies and contributions to those affected by the storms. The effort that was realized Monday was made possible by contributions from area citizens and organized by officials with the City of Atmore and Pepsi Cola Bottling of Atmore.

Atmore Fire Chief Gerry McGhee joined the group for the delivery of items to the Tuscaloosa/Cottondale area.

“We left at 9 a.m. and got back about 7 p.m,” McGhee said of the delivery. “It was a truck load of things that we hope will benefit those most in need.”

McGhee said the 18-wheeler trailer provided by Pepsi-Cola Bottling was filled with a variety of items for storm victims.

“We had a little bit of everything in the truck,” McGhee said. “We carried clothes, food, water, ice chests, baby items, and just about anything else you can imagine.”

McGhee said the truck, which delivered the items to a FEMA warehouse, was met by former Atmore fireman and current Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Kenneth Horst.

“He expressed his thanks to the people of Atmore for the contribution,” McGhee said. “And, we certainly appreciate everything that everybody around the area did to help us get this load of supplies to people who need them.”

There are still opportunities to make contributions of supplies, food and drinks at area collection points. Hainje’s Furnishings will continue to accept donations of non-perishable items Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at their location on North Main Street. Dollar General in the Winn-Dixie Shopping Center will also be accepting donations/contributions for storm victims.

Robert McGhee said the monetary donation by the Tribe is the beginning of what they hope to be able to do to provide relief to those in need.

“The Tribal Council hopes this donation will be another way the Tribe can continue to assist Alabamians weather this disaster,” McGhee said. “And, as efforts to rebuild begin we will continue to do what we can to aid families as they start anew.”