Clean up continues in Moore, Okla., more than two weeks after an EF5 tornado left the city in ruins. But for the thousands of families working to recover, a helping hand to rebuild isn't the only thing they need.
Volunteers will spend all day outside, if they can, trying to clean up. That usually means trying to find a nutritious meal takes a back seat, but one special delivery from our community is helping give thousands of people the energy they need to keep working hard.
As the sun rises on Moore Okla., Brian Wellendorf and his crew pull up ready to help.
“We're going to help just whoever needs it,” said Wellendorf.
Wellendorf owns a construction company in La Crescent and teamed up with Dublin Square Irish Pub in La Crosse collecting donations to take south.
“We're just going to go and bring the Coulee Region to Oklahoma and help out,” said Wellendorf.
They loaded a semi-truck full of food, clothes, tools, and equipment.
Driving through the night, they finally arrived at the Moore Baptist temple in Oklahoma late last week.
“We'll just make a chain and start carrying it out,” said Wellendorf, as he and others get ready to unload donations.
One by one, they unload crates of perishable goods, fruits and vegetables, including hundreds of pounds of potatoes.
It's enough food for volunteers with Unsheltered International to make nutritious meals that will feed thousands of people for the next few days.
“It really makes me proud,” said Adrienne Barbee, of Unsheltered International as she held back tears. “It's really cool. I can only emphasize that they're drive-throughing-it right now and when you eat a healthy meal, it just makes you feel better. It gives you that energy.”
And the meals are what bring tears of hope to families like Peggy Hansens' whose home was reduced to rubble in a matter of minutes.
“You just can't even imagine it,” said Hansen. “It gives us energy and keeps us going, and it’s just overwhelming the humanity that you see in people for this kind of a tragedy.”
“We'd hope someone would come and help us if we needed it,” said Wellendorf.
It's just the first of several stops the group will make in Oklahoma, but it feels good knowing they've already made a small difference.
“We all agreed that it was a completely new feeling that we had inside of us,” said Wellendorf.
Wellendorf and his crew stayed for a few days to help with the cleanup.
They also made another delivery to Shawnee, a city that's about a half an hour outside of Moore.
Shawnee was hit with a tornado right around the same time a tornado hit Moore.
Although most of the focus is on recovery in Moore, several smaller communities in the surrounding areas were also devastated by tornadoes, and one family from our community is making sure they're not forgotten.
Tune in Wednesday night for the story.