Group plans two-year tornado relief project


Adrienne Burch

Disaster relief organization Samaritan’s Purse will be in Tuscaloosa for up to two years helping to rebuild the city in the aftermath of the April 27 tornado.

Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian-based volunteer organization that is centered on the story of the Good Samaritan from the Bible, which presents the idea that it is God’s desire for people to help those in need wherever they are found.

The group arrived in Tuscaloosa shortly after the April 27 storms and began helping to clear debris and rebuild throughout the city. They were there for immediate relief and now they have initiated a plan for an extended stay in Tuscaloosa to aid in the long-term rebuilding process.

“Our goal is to rebuild anywhere from 20 to 30 homes from the ground up in the Tuscaloosa area,” said Erinn Ford, representative for the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Tuscaloosa.

They began this potentially two-year project on July 29 when the first wave of volunteers arrived in Tuscaloosa. Ford said they are currently focusing on the Alberta City and Holt areas that were hit hard.

Samaritan’s Purse brings in around 20 volunteers from across the United States to work on each project. However, they have plenty of opportunities for local students and Tuscaloosa residents to get involved.

“There will soon be a Samaritan’s Purse banner that will be displayed in different places throughout the city that people can point their Droid or smart phone at and be able to look at what the ongoing project is about,” Ford said.

Some students, like senior Karly Wilson, who volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse immediately after the storm, feel the organization is an ideal organization to get involved with to help with tornado relief.

“I really enjoyed working with Samaritan’s Purse,” she said. “My most memorable times were spending time talking, listening to and praying with the homeowners who we were working for.”

Wilson worked with Samaritan’s Purse for a week following the storm and recommends any student who wants to help with tornado relief to get involved with the organization.

“Samaritan’s Purse wanted to make sure [the homeowners] were cared for personally, not just materially,” Wilson said.

If anyone is interested in volunteering with Samaritan’s Purse as they continue their two-year stay in Tuscaloosa, contact the organization directly via email at


Jasmine Cannon contributed to this article.