Storm survivors step up to help relief effort

Indiana National Guardsmen are helping collect donations at a rest stop on I-65.

Residents from southern Indiana who escaped Friday's tornadoes are rushing to help neighbors affected by the storms.

In a matter of minutes, powerful twisters destroyed homes and claimed lives. Survivors are left with nothing, compelling those spared from the storm to act.

"I feel so bad for these people and I will do anything I can to help them," said Louisville native Jessie Bradshaw.

Bradshaw was one of hundreds of people who headed to the rest stop on Interstate 65 near the Henryville exit to donate goods for storm victims. Indiana National Guardsmen directed vehicles to volunteers waiting to take much needed donations, like the supplies Becky Young dropped off.

"Toilet paper, water bottles, toiletries, razors, diapers, wipes," said Young.

All of the donations are loaded into trailers destined for people who need it most.

Mary Birch lives in nearby Memphis, Indiana. She felt the desire to give because she dodged the storm.

"It was only 10 miles from my house. What if it was me? And that, that just says it all and that's all that we can do. It's not much, but it's what we can do," said Birch.

From carloads to one or two items, people are giving what they can, including clothes, tools and food.

Shawna Gfroerer choked back tears as she dropped off children's clothing and toys. She said as a mother of two young boys, she just had to do something to help.

"I can only imagine if they didn't have a house to go to, a teddy bear to hold a soft thing to make them feel comfortable," Gfroerer said.

While many people intentionally made the trip to the donation drop-off, a Michigan family stopped on their way home from Florida to donate food they had in their car after they saw the destruction from the Henryville exit.

Others are donating their time, standing out in the cold so victims will not have to go without.

"If somebody is in need, you've gotta go help," said one volunteer.

Strangers are now neighbors working together to bring a little light to those living through their darkest days.