Amherst Co. churches serve as a foundation for tornado victims

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AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WSET) - An F2 tornado swept through the area days ago, destroying homes and lives.

But these pillars of hope, the local churches, have stood strong, opening their doors to those in need.

"Our church has been here since 1877. We've been here a long time. These are our neighbors and friends. We love them, and not just those that are church members, but the whole community," said Rev. Steve Tyree of Elon Baptist Church, where they have collected donations and set up a lost and found section to return items to storm victims.

Volunteers and pastors have worked around the clock at churches in Amherst County. They've collected what's needed to sustain families who lost everything.

"We had a bunch of people together on Wednesday to come together and prepare close to 500 lunches," said Pastor Barry Tucker of Elon Evangelical Presbyterian Church. "We have made the facility available, the parking lot available, for Gleaning for the World to come in."

Some churches are doing truck loads of laundry. They said their "cups runneth over" with goodness from the community.

"I had so many people reaching out to help. I had more offers to help than I actually had laundry," said Bettye Garrett, a church member at Union Christian Church.

They're lending emotional and spiritual support, doing anything they can, with all of them shining a bright light through some dark times.

"The joy has been in seeing churches of all different kinds, different community organizations, and schools and teachers and students all work together," said Pastor Todd Blake, Madison Heights Baptist Church.

It's something they said is worth the sacrifice.

"We've seen so many acts of Jesus. People living the life that they claim," Tyree said.

They'll all come together this Sunday, April 22, 2018, for a community church service at Elon Baptist Church at 7 p.m., where they'll join hands and share their love for God and man.

Multiple churches are expected to attend for prayer, music and worship. It's a time for fellowship and to comfort one another, in light of the recent tornado.

Several pastors have said many families don't have a place to store items right now, so the best way to help is by donating gift cards or gas cards on their behalf to the churches.

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