After the storm: Neighbors helping neighbors

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Following this weekend's damaging storms that cut through the Mid-South, some Memphis residents and businesses chipped in to lend a helping hand during the holiday weekend.

The powerful wind storm changed a lot of weekend plans for many people.

Jennifer Bassett just got home from a wedding when trees starting taking down power lines around the city.

"We made it into the house and immediately the power just went out," Bassett said.

Over 188,000 people lost power, but with so many in need of help, it also presented a lot of opportunities for neighbors to step up - and they did.

Bassett's neighbor helped by running them an extension cord.

"They made it where we could at least sleep well and keep our fridge running as well," Bassett said. "Things like this that make it worth while to live here and enjoy the city."

Businesses have also taken part in helping citizens.

Outback Steakhouse on Union Avenue brought out 30 outlets outside for the thousands in Midtown to come charge their devices. That opportunity was a welcomed chance for many Memphians.

"We saw upwards to 100 people come by and charge their phones or their laptops or whatever they needed," owner Erika Divelbiss said.

The spirit of neighborly love is what has inspired Memphians to help.

"Just whatever we could do to help the community out and be there for them," Divelbiss said.

Neighbors are giving each other the energy needed to make it through the outage.

"The spirit of community and being a good neighbor is definitely alive and well here, and I think that's what will get us through this," Bassett said.

"Whatever we can do to get each other through it," Divelbiss said.

Some churches also got into the action and helped those around them.

Union Grove Baptist Church in Frayser said they are a community church and the neighbors are coming together to help each other.

"God sent us here to serve, and that's what we are trying to be," Grove Baptist Church Pastor Charlie Caswell said. "Be the servants that we are called to be and this is the time for action."

With storm damage and destruction all around, the residents provided some relief in Frayser.

"When the tree was uprooted," Warren Cole said. "It just crashed, a huge crash."

Even though power has been out at the church, it didn't stop Caswell and a group of volunteers from serving the community.

"We found a lot of our seniors just blocked in their homes, scared to leave their homes, not wanting anything to happen," Caswell said.

He said they used social media to spread the word about the need for donations.

"The call just putting it out on Facebook, the number of people have been calling from 2 to 3 in the morning saying 'hey, ya'll come by our house and help us in some kind of way,'" Caswell said.

Volunteers arrived Monday with pounds of food to grill and take door-to-door. They are also planning to pass out ice, bottled water, and flashlights.

Caswell said with power expected to be out at least a week, any and all donations are welcomed.

"We are just asking all the churches to come together, set up stations around the community, and let's feed our families and be there for them," Caswell said.

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