Two weeks ago in this space, The Observer called upon the community to let us know who was reaching out to help our neighbors in Cairo following the tornado that smashed a section of that city.

The City of Moultrie quickly responded that they’d sent three utility linemen to help restore electricity. We applaud them because we know from our own experience with Hurricane Michael how important that resource is.

Otherwise, we received two calls from local residents asking what we’d found out because they wanted to help.

We received no calls from Colquitt County churches or organizations who wanted to let the community know they were helping. We feel sure there were such groups, but we have heard that some in our coverage area had expended all their resources in helping people impacted by the October hurricane. The purpose of our call was to magnify the resources available to help people in need.

In following up on that call, we were directed to Clarcia Avery, a volunteer in Whigham who is helping to coordinate donations for the tornado recovery. When we spoke with her late last week, she said the residents’ most immediate need is housing. Cairo didn’t have a surplus of housing prior to the storm, she said, and families displaced by the tornado are having to look as far away as Thomasville to find a place to live.

Many are out of work — at least temporarily — because the businesses where they worked are damaged or because they have to take time off to deal with personal issues caused by the storm. Avery said those people need cash more than things. They need to pay bills.

Avery said storm victims have enough donations of clothes, but for donors who want to give other items, the families will need household goods (dishes, forks and spoons, linens, furniture) to start their lives over. For some, the tornado took everything they owned.

Avery has a list of the churches and organizations in Cairo that are working directly with storm victims. Anyone who wants to give to that cause can contact her at (229) 221-8134.

We applaud the work Avery and others have done and continue to do to help those who are in need.

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