Pleasant Grove, Ala.—A special delivery from Midwest Food Bank in Indianapolis on Tuesday, went a long way toward helping tornado in victims recover in the Birmingham, Alabama area.
"Again, lord bless you guys, we appreciate all that you did," said Gordon Thompson, a volunteer disaster coordinator who greeted volunteer truck driver Andy Schroeder with Midwest Food Bank on Tuesday morning. "It's very valuable stuff that we'll put to use not only this week but in the weeks to come."
Schroeder, of Indianapolis, said it's a delivery he was happy to make.
"You do all the work yesterday to get here and then just to see all of these people show up and you don't even have to do anything," Schroeder said, referring to the dozens of volunteers from Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church who turned up to unload the truck. "It's pretty awesome."
Many of the disaster packages made their way to another church in Pleasant Grove, a Birmingham suburb.
"It's a pretty awesome thing to see the good side of people," said Michael Frostburg, deacon of Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church.
Awesome could also describe the devastation in the community surrounding Frostburg's church. Several members were among those who lost everything, and though there were no deaths among his congregation, that's not the case for all.
"We know there were a lot of people that were in our neighborhood that weren't church members that didn't make it," Frostburg said.
Whether it's those who lost everything or those who are volunteering to help salvage something, these are the places and the people disaster relief is meant for.
"We appreciate it. Just keep praying for us," Frostburg said.
"It's devastating," said Pam Copeland, a storm victim. "The whole town is wiped out."
Though Pam and her parents' home sustained damage in the tornado, the home is still livable.
"There's a couple of holes in the roof," Copeland said. "We've got that tarped."
Pam said she's thankful because she also has her brother and a crew of volunteers helping clean up, and that was before she received a package from Indianapolis.
"Go Hoosiers! Is that what it is?" Copeland said with a laugh.
So far, one of the biggest challenges to delivering disaster packages comes in getting them to the people who live in the areas hardest hit by the tornado. That's because it's hard delivering things door to door when the victims no longer have a door.
"There's eight of us now living in this house," Pam Copeland said.
"I have two, two year old's and a six year old (in the house)" Chris Copeland said.
Pam's brother, Chris, used to live in a home three blocks away, but now his house is a total loss.
"Just grabbed drawers full of clothes," Chris said. "Found every piece of luggage you could find and shoving everything you could in there."
Chris and his young family survived the storm and he salvaged several possessions like his newly dented pickup. It's just one of many things they said they're all thankful for now.
"We got hot water last night," Pam said. "So we were able to take a shower. A hot shower."
"My mother is at work," Chris said. "She finally went back to work today."
And now, you can add two boxes, and three days of food from Indiana to that list.
"We can use every bit of that," Chris said. "I mean, God bless y'all too for bringing it. It's rough. We can use it."
Though there are hundreds of boxes of disaster supplies waiting to be distributed in Birmingham, organizers say they will need thousands more in coming weeks.
You can sign up to donate or volunteer at Midwest Food Bank.
On Wednesday, Fox59 News will be catching up with Red Cross volunteers from Indianapolis making a difference in Alabama during the storm recovery. For up to the minute updates on this trip, follow Kent Erdahl on twitter and Facebook.