Local Bank Donates $30,000 To Disaster Relief Fund - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Local Bank Donates $30,000 To Disaster Relief Fund

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The financial institution, The First,  donated $30,000 to help storm victims and their families who are still recovering from the Feb. 10 tornado.

The bank along with the Greater PineBelt Community Foundation held a press conference Monday. The money will be split between two organizations, The Carpenter's Helper and R3SM, which stands for Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi.

Sheila Varnado is the executive director of R3SM. She said the families that will benefit from this money will be forever grateful.

"Many describe it as the Lord himself opened up the doors of heaven and just showered down a blessing," she said.

The check was written out to the Greater PineBelt Community Foundation. It will be deposited into their PineBelt Community Disaster Fund.

"Our board of directors knew how important is was to help with this storm because it was so devastating to so many people," said Theresa Erickson, executive director of the Greater PineBelt Community Foundation.

They specialize in raising money for community use and they will ultimately split the $30,000 between R3SM and the Carpenter's Helper and try to raise more funds.

"We are taking in donations and trying to get matches from other organizations and companies," Erickson said.

"The money will be used to purchase materials or maybe buy appliances," said Varnado.

All applicants will go through a case management process to evaluate the extent of their need.

"It's part of our mission to help build the community up and help the community to prosper, it's only good for us in the end," said Hoppy Cole, CEO and President of The First.

"I'd like to challenge some of the other banks and other corporate members of Hattiesburg to also give generously," Cole said.

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