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Bainbridge community sends help to region Tornado victims

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Memories Car Club, whose donations as of Tuesday morning are shown above, and other community organizations are collecting items to send to victims of last weekend’s weather disaster in Albany.

Walking past the counter and through the threshold that takes you from front of LTL Flower and Gift Shop to the back room may as well be a doorway to a completely different building. The gift-lined walls in the front are swapped out for brightly colored paint with positive murals artfully placed on the walls of the back room with a central theme of hope.

Denise Webb darts around tables checking in bags and arranging stuffed animals on tables, but they’re not for the gift shop on the other side of the walls. Webb and her car club, Memories Car Club, have collected items for the relief effort taking place in Albany, Georgia, after this past weekends deadly tornadoes.

“This mean’s a lot because it’s close to home. We can just get in our car and go,” said Webb. “We’re going directly to the people and giving it. We’re going to the centers and handing it to them.”

Webb is collecting items from clothes, to stuffed animals, to blankets and pans and all else in-between with the help of the car club in order to assist those in need after the tornadoes.

The assistance isn’t only coming from car club members, although Webb proudly boasts that the club has 100 percent involvement in the charity. Many businesses around Bainbridge have also contributed to her effort. Flowers by Cooper donated clothes, as did some of the nurses at Memorial Hospital. Winn Dixie also donated 25 loafs of bread and enough ham to make between 300 and 350 sandwiches to Webb so she can assist Stacey Warren and the Salvation Army provide food for those in need.

“When I turned on the TV, and saw the destruction, and saw them looking for a 4 year-old kid I knew I needed to help,” said Webb. “They’re still finding unconscious people buried under debris.”

Webb is determined to get to the worst of the worst to provide relief. She’s going to the epicenter, Blue Springs and Holly Drive, and seeking out the ones who lost everything to provide them with aid.

“There’s people right in the next town who are just devastated and we need to help our own,” said Webb. “There are plenty of people who send money to help people in other countries, we need to help people in our own back yard.”
Charity is not new to Webb, who also provided aid for the victims of Hurricane Andrew back in 1992 when Webb loaded up a 20X8 foot trailer and took it to aid those in need.

The Memories Car Club is not the only organization in Bainbridge that is contributing to the relief effort associated with the tornado.

The Salvation Army arrived on scene yesterday to provide their meals-on-wheels assistance to victims.

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Office also dispatched deputies to assist in keeping order after the tornados. Three deputies were sent to Adel, Georgia, and six were sent to Dougherty County to assist there.

The brightly colored room was a fitting staging area for the relief effort. Surrounded by murals of hope, Denise Webb collected tangible items that will provide hope for those in need.

“If I can help them save even a picture, help them save memories, that’s why I’m going,” said Webb. “What matters to me is to see a little boy, who is terrified, receive a toy and see them smile and know you put that smile there.”

Webb loads up her first load of goods on Wednesday to head to the disaster areas, but the group is continually accepting donations at LTL Flower and Gift Shop in Willis Park and at the Car Show in front of the shop over the weekend.

The group needs all items, but hygienic items are in desperate need.