Onalaska community members continue helping with relief efforts

Onalaska community members continue helping with relief efforts
Residents in throughout Onalaska still have debris lining the streets, waiting to be surveyed and taken away. (Source: KTRE)

POLK COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - More than a month has passed since an EF-3 tornado struck the town of Onalaska.

Trees, home appliances, and much more debris continue to line neighborhood streets and highways of the small community.

Residents say the past few weeks have involved lots of cleanup and using their resources to help one another.

“Driving in here and seeing all the debris, I mean, we’re scared now because all this stuff is drying up and the tornado was bad, but this stuff needs to be picked up before it catches fire,” said Onalaska resident Charles Jones.

Rebuilding has started, but Jones said there are still lots of people without homes.

“This part of the subdivision, especially in the back, we still have people that don’t have homes, don’t have insurance,” Jones said.

“They’re living in their cars, they’re living in tents.”

On Friday the Yoga and Wellness Vault hosted an outdoor donation based yoga class for the community.

“Everybody’s been in quarantine and then we had the double whammy of the tornado, so everybody has been on edge,” said Linda Stevens, a yoga teacher.

“So we really wanted to kind of bring something that would bring a little peace, a little relaxation, and then also an opportunity to move our bodies.”

Stevens said all donations are going directly to help tornado victims. The Onalaska First United Methodist Church has been working with other churches and people in the community to raise money and create a rebuilding plan.

“Now we are starting to compile these lists of, and prioritize them in work that can be done. It’s fixable. Folks don’t have the means to fix it,” said Jimmy Calvert, senior pastor Onalaska First United Methodist church.

“Lowe’s and Home Depot have graciously donated materials. So we’re going to start calling on teams from the Houston and surrounding areas to come in and start working on these houses.”

Jones said his family is thankful for all of those who have volunteered. He added they’ve been helpful in clean up efforts and made them feel at ease.

“There were people out there that cared. And there were people out there that took time away from their schedule to come out here and help us,” Jones said.

“And all I can say is, we are blessed. Onalaska is going to be stronger now and we will rebuild. And it’s going to be, not the same, but it’ll be better.”

If you’d like to donate or help with rebuilding efforts you can visit https://www.facebook.com/donate/247363363047279/?fundraiser_source=external_url

Copyright 2020 KTRE. All rights reserved.