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Onalaska First Assembly helping the community following deadly tornado

Updated: Apr. 26, 2020 at 11:40 AM CDT
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ONALASKA, Texas (KTRE) - Churches all over have been streaming services online for weeks. This weekend one Onalaska church was hoping to do a drive-in service. Once the tornado hit, their calling was toward response efforts.

Onalaska First Assembly’s worship hall has been transformed into a distribution station and they’ve been hosting a disaster response team.

Nearly 250 chairs have been put to the side, only a few pallets of water and Powerade are left, and cleanup materials line the perimeter of their worship hall.

“Convoy of Hope, a big ol 18-wheeler, came in just a few nights ago and we unloaded pallets in here,” said Cameron Veazey, lead pastor.

Their church was able to communicate with other churches and organizations so there wouldn’t be too many repeats of items. Among many things, some of the items they’ve collected and distributed have been, “Tarps, contractor trash bags, five gallon hygiene buckets, which we have more coming in this next week, those went really quick,” Veazey said. “We have rakes, push brooms, a lot of different things that we were able to provide and will continue to provide as needed.”

Veazey said their members and community have been hard at work so he wanted to be sure and have a service today, even if it meant live streaming it.

“I think it’s so important that we still dedicate some time to be poured into spiritually,” he said.

So they continued with their Facebook live service, and prior to that some community members came to pick up and drop off items. They have also been hosting Minuteman, a disaster response non-profit.

“Our goal is to be self-sufficient when we come into a community so we can immediately be part of the solution,” said Eric Burkes, director of operations with Minuteman.

Burkes said chainsaw work is a big part of cleanup after a tornado. The group has trailers full of chainsaws, wheeler barrels, and rakes to help get debris out of yards and to the curb.

“We’ll have a track loader with a dump trailer arriving tomorrow to support those efforts and to move the heavier debris,” said Burkes.

Veazey said they will continue to be receiving donations throughout the week. Anyone who needs anything can visit the Big Red Box on our website to be directed to their Facebook page.

There you can send a message to them and make arrangements based on your needs.

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