Tornado survivors apply for aid, get clean laundry

April 22, 2011 8:06:54 PM PDT
FEMA crews are in Fayetteville trying to help tornado victims get back on their feet and tornado survivors are getting help with one thing many of us take for granted -- clean clothes.

To some, six days ago seems like a different lifetime.

"It's been difficult, it's like you never know what you got till it's gone," Fayetteville resident Samantha Reynolds said.

FEMA crews are helping residents like Reynolds get back some of what they like.

"There is three trees in my kitchen, two vehicles were destroyed," resident Damon Williamson said.

He is one of more than 130 people who signed up for federal assistance at Fayetteville's FEMA Disaster Recovery Center.

"I talked to my landlord one time," Williamson said. "He don't want to see me, call me back, no nothing. I just want another place to put my family."

A FEMA spokesperson says FEMA help is based on need, not household income. Damages estimates in Fayetteville run in the hundreds of millions of dollars. FEMA help covers homes, vehicles and household items.

"I have lost all of my food in my refrigerator and deep freezer because didn't get lights till last night," resident Earline Adams said.

FEMA says it could take seven to ten days to get checks to those who registered for help.

"After they register, in a few days there will be a visit by an inspector [that] will contact them," Mary Margaret Smith of FEMA said.

The government isn't the only organization coming to the rescue of residents. Friday Chris Kennedy finally got some clean laundry.

"Pretty much been wearing the same clothes," Kennedy said. "Matter of fact, I've been wearing the same socks."

Proctor and Gamble, the company that make Tide laundry detergent, is washing tornado victims' clothes for free through its program called Tide Loads of Hope.

"We have collected about 150 loads today probably about 350 overall, so it's pretty hectic," said John Russell, Tides of Hope.

Catherine Crudup volunteered to help wash, dry and fold.

"You can tell a lot of things have been in the debris, like mud, so we work on getting it free, folding and giving them a smile with it," Crudup said.

"It's nice saving the time doing this so I can put the time somewhere else right now," Kennedy said.

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